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Kathleen Rosier, BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Kathleen took an alternative route to an engineering degree, which allowed her to continue to work and develop her specialist knowledge at the same time

Many students have a clear idea of the path they want to take through education, but for others, things aren’t quite as clear cut. Kathleen Rosier is a fine example of a student who has excelled at LSBU after arriving through a less traditional – but no less successful – set of circumstances, as an HND student.

A sponsored HND

“I was working as an internal engineer for a chemical control company, but wanted to apply for the Navy,” says Kathleen. “However, I discovered I was partially colour blind so could not complete my original application. Before I could reapply for a different Navy role, my employers – who were keen to keep me on – suggested they sponsor me through an HND in Electrical and Electronic Engineering instead. I’m so glad that they did!”

An HND is a route to a higher education qualification that is an alternative to the first two years of a traditional undergraduate degree. They are work-related qualifications, and can be completed full-time or part-time alongside a career – something which Kathleen found to be very beneficial.

Continuing education

What’s more, after completing an HND, LSBU offers graduates the chance to join the final year of a degree programme – an opportunity that Kathleen made the most of to qualify with a full BEng (Hons) degree. “It was actually always my intention to carry on and top-up to complete a full degree,” she says. “The HND was a great route in for me, but the opportunities that await me in terms of studying for a Masters degree and the career advantages that could give me meant I knew that I wanted to go even further than the HND I initially enrolled on.”

Combining work and study

The work-based nature of the HND is also what made it such an attractive proposition to Kathleen’s employers, as she explains. “My employer was finding it difficult to up-skill the staff because a lot of our work is very technical. It’s a mixture of chemistry and engineering, so learning it from scratch is unlikely – that ruled out taking on apprentices. Instead, the better option was to sponsor existing staff – like me – through an HND.”

Indeed, the HND proved to be a recruitment tool for Kathleen’s employer in more ways than one, as Kathleen recruited a fellow student during her time at LSBU. “I helped them to secure a job as a travelling service engineer,” she says. “They’d already worked in engineering for years, and were looking to relocate. I sent my employer a copy of their CV, they secured an interview, and they got the job!”

My HND didn’t just allow me access to the course, it actually prepared me for the style of learning I would experience as an Honours student - it got me used to the university atmosphere itself, so I was more comfortable about studying there.

Kathleen Rosier

Hopes for the future

Having successfully completed both her HND and her BEng, Kathleen is optimistic about what the future holds. “I hope to stay in the chemical engineering industry or something similar,” she says. “I find it fascinating, and my qualification will enable me to become a valued asset. I’d like to move into management, either in a small company or working in a team of engineers and scientists. To make that happen, I’m planning on studying for an MBA before moving on to become a chartered engineer – and the nature of my expertise means that I will be employable all over the world – something I’m really enthusiastic about as a keen traveller.”