Matthew Beecroft

Higher and Degree Apprenticeship Courses

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Non-Destructive Testing Engineer (Level 6)

Why did you decide to do a degree apprenticeship?

Coming to the end of my time at Sixth Form, I started to realise that I enjoyed practical learning as much as theory. I also wanted to fulfil my goal to become degree qualified – something that I have always wanted to do.

I discovered degree apprenticeships as a way to get qualified, gain valuable practical experience, earn an income, avoid debt and give myself a head start on others in the job market. The Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Engineer degree apprenticeship opportunity at Rolls-Royce was perfect for me as it was heavily Physics and Maths-based, with interesting practical engineering aspects.

What has been your experience so far?

Very positive! The combination of study and full-time work can be challenging at times but overcoming these challenges has been rewarding and fantastic for my personal learning. I’ve had far more opportunities to make contacts and network within my industry than with a normal degree, thus furthering my knowledge and increasing opportunities available to me.

How has the University supported you?

A large part of my degree is taught via distance learning, even more so during COVID-19. This is difficult at times but the University staff, particularly the course tutor, Abdeldjalil Bennecer, has always been available for extra support when needed. This support has increased as I am now in my final year writing a project/dissertation.

Which, if any, skills and knowledge/understanding gained on your degree apprenticeship are useful in your work role?

The degree apprenticeship course has provided me with an in-depth knowledge of the more technical aspects of NDT methods, such as X-Ray Radiography, Ultrasound and Eddy Current Testing, which I have taken back in to my workplace and used it to gain further understanding of my role and the practical application of these in the workplace. Also, the more general Engineering topics covered have given me fantastic background knowledge of the wider industry, which is just as useful to help understand my role and the challenges I face.

What advice would you like to give to others interested in doing degree apprenticeships?

Do it! But just take care to choose an apprenticeship that is right for you and in an industry/sector you definitely want to work in as apprenticeships can often be more specific than normal degrees and therefore result in more defined job roles after finishing the apprenticeship.

Get involved as much as possible both within and outside of the workplace/University, including in activities in schools and colleges which can be very rewarding and help to inspire a future generation!

Definitely try to build good relationships with your classmates/colleagues as they will be one of the best sources of support and knowledge throughout.

What are your future plans?

After the end of my apprenticeship, I am planning to work as an NDT Engineer (Level 3) in the Laboratory at Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick. This is the role that I’ve been assigned since the start of my apprenticeship.

Completing my apprenticeship will allow me to register as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) which in the future I’m hoping to transfer to Chartered Engineer (CEng) status, as well as considering further postgraduate studies.

I will also be looking to continue my involvement with the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) where I am currently Vice-Chair of the North-West branch – an opportunity that I gained through industrial contact in my apprenticeship.