I started my mechanical engineering apprenticeship in 2013 with Proctor and Gamble and remained working there for 2.5 years. In this time, I completed many training courses, including my BTEC Level 3 Diploma, as well as starting the HNC as part of an apprenticeship.

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In 2016, I began my employment at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) as a Mechanical Engineer, whilst continuing my HNC and then starting my HND. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the Mechanical Engineering position, I interviewed for a Technical Advisor role to the Executive Director Team at AWE.

Preeya Lakhani

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I was successful in this role and supported the Chief Financial Officer for 18 months, whilst finishing my HND and starting my Master Degree in Engineering. My current role is Project Manager, a position I successfully achieved in March 2020. I completed my master’s degree shortly after in May 2020.

Why did you choose to complete a BTEC Higher National?          

This qualification had a natural progression from the BTEC Level 3 and interested me because the syllabus seemed to incorporate some more strategic topics that would help me in my career. I also had my eyes set on completing a Bachelor’s degree in the future, and this qualification was of value to university admissions.

How will completing a BTEC Higher National make a difference in your career?

As previously mentioned, the syllabus included topics that were valuable to me as an engineering professional. I valued that my Higher National not only pushed the boundaries of my technical knowledge, but also encouraged me to explore other subjects that included managing people and quality management.

In the future, I intend to progress to become a Programme Manager one day. I would also like to complete a PhD in a technical field, should my time allow!

Do you have any career tips or advice for current or prospective Higher National students?

1. You CAN do it. Balancing a career and a Higher National qualification is a challenge, but with effective time management and the willingness to do it, you can. And yes, you will still have time to enjoy weekends. Before you know it, you'll have a routine!

2. It is WORTH it. Higher National qualification can open many doors into further education. The more choice you have, the better the position you are in. And if you do not have the intention to progress higher than a HNC/HND, remember that these in themselves are a very high standard of education and you should be proud of what you have achieved.

3. Try not to compare yourself to friends who have gone to university to do a Bachelors. These qualifications are every bit as valuable as a bachelor’s degree, because this style of learning you can apply easily to real life.