Tom Marston is a Postgraduate Engineer Degree Apprentice. He works as a Test Engineer for Cummins Ltd, where he designs, develops and tests large diesel engines for use in lorries, buses and construction equipment.
As a recent Harper Adams 2019 graduate, he wanted to pursue Level 7 studies whilst he was working. The degree apprenticeship offered him the chance to work towards Chartered status and enhance his career.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
“I originally started on a part-time MSc Engineering Business Management before transferring over to the Apprenticeship. The Apprenticeship was better suited to me as I can complete my university assignments during my normal work hours and having the full support of my employer helps me find a good balance between university study and my job.”
What are the challenges of being an apprentice?
“Balancing my normal duties and the apprenticeship can be challenging, but I have learned to block out areas in my calendar so I can get the off the job hours in to complete my assignments. Having only one assignment at a time has helped manage my workload. The step up from Level 6 undergraduate to Level 7 postgraduate study has been surprisingly natural and I’ve enjoyed the modules I’ve completed so far.”
What do you enjoy about your job?
“I enjoy the constant problem solving and troubleshooting involved in the testing of such complicated pieces of equipment. The work is really varied and I’m never at my desk for more than a few hours at a time, before having to jump up to investigate and solve problems.“
Why did you choose Harper Adams University?
“I had a great time at Harper as an undergraduate, both socially and on my BEng course. It was therefore the natural choice to continue my studies here. Having the modules taught in a block week is also really beneficial to my work. I can easily schedule my work around the weeks I’ll be away at university.
The course so far has been very good and already helped me in my current job be a better engineer. I find myself thinking about some of the soft skills developed in the Professional Engineering Practice Module and have more appreciation for the supply chain after the Supply Chain Management Module.”
Tom Partridge, Product Development Director for Cummins Ltd, praised the degree apprenticeship model, saying: “We are delighted that Tom has the opportunity to work through this apprenticeship with Harper Adams. We can see how much the model of working and learning at the same time helps to focus the methods, particularly in Tom’s current role as a Test Engineer.”
What advice would you give to someone who is considering an apprenticeship?
“It’s a great way to gain an additional qualification while you work. I will be able to apply for Chartership, be more prepared to take on roles in non-technical engineering disciplines and it will set me up well to potentially start my own business one day.”
A Level 7 degree apprenticeship involves working at least 30 hours a week with a company, alongside attending university for part time studies for up to two years. Harper Adams University offer two postgraduate specialist degree apprenticeships, supporting professional development in engineering business management and food industry management.
If you are interested in a Degree Apprenticeship at Harper Adams University, find more here.
Written by Melanie Harwood