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Birmingham City University: Younus’ Story

Younus Khan works for Severn Trent Water whilst also studying for an MSc in Mechanical Engineering through Birmingham City University’s degree apprenticeship programme.

He says this opportunity attracted him because it would give him the skills to progress further in his career, in particular, because the course is accredited, and will therefore allow him to become a Charted Engineer.

“In line with my professional development and personal development plan, I wanted to improve my technical competency, engineering knowledge and overall leadership abilities – the MSc in Mechanical Engineering covers all aspects of this.”

“Obtaining a postgraduate qualification was always integral to both to me and to Severn Trent as there is an expectation for me to qualify as a Chartered Engineer at the end of the apprenticeship, subject to passing the IMechE interview.”

“I chose BCU because the course content was the right fit for the business and myself. The module delivery is excellent for part-time students which has enabled me to plan my work efficiently, study and minimise my time away from the office all at the same time. The facilities at BCU such as the workshops and laboratories in particular are dynamic and resources are wide-ranging. Since joining BCU I have felt well supported by the academic staff delivering the lecturers but also by the Engineering department who offer support and guidance for apprenticeship documents.”

He says studying alongside his job has really supported him to learn more even when he is outside the classroom; “The apprenticeship has broadened my understanding of Mechanical engineering and encourages me to continue to learn more “on the job”. The apprenticeship has guided me to look at systems, interfaces and processes in more depth with a more practical ‘hands on’ approach. The modules of the MSc are diverse, so I am constantly learning in the classroom and then transferring this knowledge to site.”

Younus has also gained confidence from the experience of studying a degree apprenticeship. He says, “Since starting the degree combined with the training received on Severn Trent’s graduate scheme, I have vastly improved as an engineer and future leader. I am communicating at a higher technical and professional level than previously, and I have also strengthened my technical competency. For example, on a monthly basis I report updates and answer queries on the project to senior management/stakeholders – something previously I would have struggled with.”

This improved confidence, as well as the technical skills Younus has learnt, have also benefitted his employer: “Undertaking the Masters degree has allowed me to gain confidence and bring innovative ideas into the organisation such as implementing drone technology to visually inspect a digester, rather than scaffolding the internals which costs tens of thousands of pounds. This was something which had never been undertaken previously in Severn Trent, but now has opened the door to looking at where else can we utilise this technology.”

For this reason, Younus would very much recommend employers make use of the apprenticeship levy. He says, “I would advise fellow professionals and businesses to look at utilising the apprentice levy & MSc courses at Birmingham City University. The degree will further improve the individuals’ technical and overall engineering knowledge, as well as creating better overall engineers for a work environment.”