BTEC Higher Nationals Case Study: Oliver Smee
Oliver studied a HND in Digital Technologies, specialising in Games & Animation Design at the South-Central Institute of Technology in the UK.
Choosing a career in Games and Animation
I wasn’t sure what I was wanting to pursue until I left secondary school, and it wasn’t until I started my Level 3 Games and Animation Design that I really found my passion and decided what career path I wanted to take. At the time I was working a low-level part-time job to keep me on my feet whilst I was studying, then the South-Central Institute of Technology was introduced to me, and it was amazing to have opportunities to open myself up to further my career.
My time in Higher Education
During my two years of study, I learnt a variety of different skills across different digital technology units. Studying my HND allowed me to develop skills in Cyber Security, Networking, Programming, Pitching skills, Data Analysis, and Internet of Things. All assignments were a mixture of practical and theory allowing me to research and implement new skills. We worked on some exciting projects like pitching a project to potential employers, designing an innovative idea for physical use utilising Raspberry Pi system, and developing an online website chatbot for customer services. However, my main focus was on the Games and Animation pathway, which is something that I wanted to continue with since my Level 3 course.
I decided to carry my passion throughout both my study years as a full-time student, managing to acquire skills alongside my chosen pathway whilst studying under industry professionals and employee briefs from companies like HPE, McAfee Security, and Barclays Bank. I am thankful for the South-Central Institute of Technology for having a unique method of lecturing content and supporting the development of different skillsets. They helped me through both years, giving advice on tailoring my CV and increasing my network for employability.
Having wonderful fellow students to work alongside really helped when working our way through each assignment and practical lectures in the classroom, bouncing ideas of each other and figuring things out together. Learning in a supportive and inclusive environment allowed me to actively engage in my studies, explore new ideas, collaborate with other students effectively, and thrive both academically and personally.
Career and self-development
Learning at the South-Central Institute of Technology allowed me to become more confident and develop myself in and out of the classroom. I volunteered to be a student ambassador for the institute to advance my communication skills with the rest of my peers.
Since graduating from my HND course, I’ve been expanding my field of knowledge through research, portfolio projects and gaining industry experiences. I am now working for the very same institute, receiving my teacher training award and experiencing life on the other side of education. I am helping to market the Pearson courses and assist in lectures to pass on my experience, knowledge, and passion onto other students. This is something that I want to continue to pursue, mixing my passion for games development and education together, as I hope to further my career.
The best advice that I can give anyone going into higher education is to take any opportunity that you can to push yourself and pursue what you are passionate about, with the right mindset, anything is possible.