James Baker, 25, studied the Access to HE Diploma in Engineering programme at Middlesbrough College after deciding to act upon his passion from a young age to work in Engineering.
He explained: “I knew I wanted to be an Engineer from an early age but was told that it wasn’t the right route for me.
“After working in various jobs I still felt myself gravitate to Engineering so decided to study the Access to HE Engineering course at Middlesbrough College. “
James travelled 2 and a half hours from Tyneside to do the programme and found a great sense of community when he arrived.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect from Middlesbrough as a town but it really is a great place with lots going on. I’ve really enjoyed coming down here and being in such a vibrant place.”
The Access to HE Diplomas provide an alternative route for those who want to progress on to university and ensure students have the right skills and knowledge to succeed at higher-level study.
“The course is definitely challenging but you receive so much support from staff. I don’t know how my lecturer, Tim Ong, had the time to give me the level of support he did. Tim and all of my tutors were on hand to help whenever I needed them.”
“The course more than prepared me for my degree at De Montfort University in Leicester and I felt really confident going into my first year, I felt the first 12 months of my degree were almost too easy as I had covered so much ground in my Access programme!”
James finished his degree with a 1st class honours and thanks his tutors at Middlesbrough College for helping him get there.
“I wouldn’t have been able to achieve that grade without my Access to HE Diploma in Engineering and the support from the staff at Middlesbrough College, I know a lot of people in my class had been thinking about getting back into education for years and had never made the jump – once they did they never looked back.”
Due to finish his PGCE at Sunderland University this June, James is hoping to head to Sweden and teach students there.
“Tim’s ‘Fly me to the Moon’ version of the Pendulum Theory inspired me to teach, although I’m not sure I will be singing in my lessons any time soon!”