Isabel’s Excellent Degree Apprenticeship Experience


Isabel, a 19-year-old student in the second year of her HNC apprenticeship in Engineering, was shortlisted for the Engineering & Construction Student of the Year award at University Centre Weston. Reflecting on the nomination, Isabel shares, “I am thrilled and excited. It feels like an honour to have been recognised for the hard work and resilience I have put into balancing my course with my apprenticeship.”

Isabel’s journey in education has been marked by determination and perseverance. Being dyslexic, she faced challenges but always had a passion for science. After completing her GCSEs, she pursued A-levels in Maths, Chemistry, and Physics during the Covid-19 pandemic. She then secured a degree apprenticeship with Edwards, who supported her in undertaking the 2-year HNC apprenticeship in Engineering when she didn’t quite reach the required grade in Maths for the degree. This will enable her to join the degree course in September 2024.

Choosing UCW for her higher education was an easy decision for Isabel. “The University Centre Weston has a great reputation, and I was able to work with Edwards so I could have one day a week in college to do the HNC. The HNC apprenticeship in engineering has allowed me to learn a great deal about the business I work for, as the projects are designed to engage with the company’s real-world processes,” she explains. “Continuing to work with the same lecturers provided stability whilst balancing work, education, and personal challenges,” she notes.

GCSE work experience at Rolls-Royce fuelled Isabel’s desire to pursue a degree apprenticeship rather than traditional university education. Isabel says she appreciates the support from both the university and her employer. “The staff and lecturers have always been incredibly supportive, and the course’s standard has been outstanding. Lecturers are always willing to assist in developing and furthering my understanding and in improving and getting the best out of my studies,” she reveals. “Edwards has been incredibly supportive by ensuring a mentor has always been in place and providing access to the appropriate information and support to carry out my assignments,” she notes.

UCW’s facilities have also played a crucial role in Isabel’s education. “The facilities at University Centre Weston were beneficial, with many different machines and software like SolidWorks and Fusion 360 available within different environments,” she explains.

One of Isabel’s academic highlights at UCW has been learning how to use CAD software and manufacturing a part using a CNC milling tool. “I have achieved a Distinction in all the assignments that I have been set so far,” she proudly states.

Looking ahead, Isabel plans to complete her degree apprenticeship with Edwards and further her engineering career.

Isabel’s time at UCW has equipped her with essential skills in CAD, Maths, Science, Project Management, and Production, preparing her for her chosen career path. Personally, and professionally, she has grown in confidence and maturity. “I have provided work of real value for Edwards through some of my coursework, and I now feel confident in communicating and working effectively, adding value to a team,” she reflects.

To those considering studying at UCW, Isabel offers this advice: “I would say ‘go for it’ as it has been a great experience that has helped me grow in confidence. I have learnt so much, and although it has been hard at times, the balance between working, attending college, and completing the assignments has been manageable with good planning and timekeeping. The lecturers are friendly and approachable and always quick to respond to any problems you may be having – you just have to ask.”

To find out more about engineering and construction at UCW, click here! To find out more about degree apprenticeships click here!