Jonathan Boyd owes his career at PD Ports to a decision to study Mechanical Engineering at Middlesbrough College (formerly Longlands College) back in 1999.
The former Billingham student was encouraged to pursue a professional career in engineering by his father, who was a welder at the time.
Despite many of his friends progressing onto A Levels at the local Sixth Form, Jonathan didn’t think this route was right for him.
He was initially told by teachers in his school that he’d ‘never be an engineer’, but was spurred on after achieving a grade B in Maths, part of the requirement to get on the BTEC Level 3 Mechanical Engineering programme.
After two years of study, he was then offered a place at Northumbria University to study Mechanical Engineering.
Jonathan said: “I didn’t think I had the academic ability to go to university until I started my course at the College.
“My tutors at the time were a huge support and I feel like choosing a BTEC gave me a competitive advantage whilst at university.
“Many of my peers who had progressed from A Levels had no practical experience. My course was amazing in the fact that the tutors had come from industry so could share that specialist knowledge with you. I was given so many opportunities to complete additional training ranging from machine tool operation to the use of AutoCAD for design.
After finishing his degree, Jonathan was offered the position of Junior Mechanical Engineer at PD Ports and studied part time for an MSc in Project Management at university. Jonathan then went on to achieve status as a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) which was a catalyst to a diverse career in the offshore wind and subsea fabrication industries.
He said: “It sounds cliché but choosing to study engineering at the College really changed my life.
“It’s given me so many opportunities in my career. Plus, I even met my wife here, who was studying A Levels at the time!”
Two years ago, Jonathan returned to PD Ports as a Senior Mechanical Project Engineer, and now supports the new generation of young engineers joining the sector. He has since went on to become a Fellow of the IMechE.
“I’d definitely recommend the practical route into engineering. The BTEC course gives you the theoretical knowledge you need, alongside valuable practical skills and an insight into the sector.”