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Topic Title: HNC/D path or Open University?
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Created On: 19 October 2012 10:46 AM
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 19 October 2012 10:46 AM
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ddenyer

Posts: 1
Joined: 19 October 2012

Hello there,

My first post...here goes

I am currently in the RAF employed as an Avionics technician and have decided that I want to study in higher education.
At the moment I hold an NVQ Level 3 in Aeronautical Engineering (Avionics) but would like to progress further using distance learning, hopefully to degree level.

After doing a fair bit of research I have come up with 2 options:

-Completing a HNC/D at Teeside University (Electrical/Electronic Engineering) then topping it up to a degree

-Completing an Open University Engineering degree

Could anyone shed light on what would be the best path?
 19 October 2012 08:09 PM
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Gruff

Posts: 74
Joined: 18 December 2010

I'll jump in here with a third option for you to consider... HNC/D at UCBC Blackburn College, then top up to degree.

I finished an HNC and HND at Blackburn about a year ago, and the programme there is chock-a-block with forces guys, from all the services. I've sat many modules with RAF lads and the crack is always good, with plenty of banter between them and the Army/Navy guys. They all have a good work ethic, and everyone pulls together to get through the study and assignments.

Blackburn have a blended/intensive HNC/D program which was initially set up with forces personnel in mind, and they still make up the bulk of the students. That might begin to change now that the funding for higher education has been overhauled, as most of the guys were using their Enhanced Learning Credits to pay for their courses, but since prices went up at all colleges it may not cover everything now (I'm not certain, I'm civilian).

The Blackburn programme revolves around week long intensive courses, where you do some preparatory reading/study on your own at distance, then roll up for a week long session at University Centre in Blackburn. You spend about 40 hours in class having your brains bashed in with solid lectures and practice problems and practical exercises, then sit an exam on the Friday.

The workload is very high for many of the modules as there's so much to get through, so there's plenty of stress, pressure and late nights, but everyone is in the same boat and everyone who works hard gets through. Many of the forces guys lodge in the same digs and work together to go over the days study and on assignments.

The advantage is that you can knock off a module in one week, instead of two (or three or four) months of working on your own at weekends and in the evenings. The disadvantage is you have to trek up to sunny Blackburn for a week at a time.

I've posted before in the forum about the Blackburn programme, so a quick search should bring up more info, or I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have. Just shout up.

I can also put you in touch with one of the course leaders there if you like, Geoff (ex-forces himself - Navy). Let me know if you want contact details, he's a good guy and would be happy to offer advice.

You used to be able to go all the way through to your B.Eng on the Blackburn program, but the HN guys are currently not able to sign up to the degree top up, as it's going through re-validation. I don't know if that option will open up again in future, but that wouldn't stop you topping up elsewhere of course.

Let me know if you want more info.

*edit*

Oh, I forgot to mention, many of the forces lads manage to get a couple (or more) modules signed off straight away on the strength of tickets or courses or rank from their service. So you many not need to do all 8 modules to get your HNC. Geoff would be able to discuss if that's an option for you.

Edited: 19 October 2012 at 08:19 PM by Gruff
 13 November 2012 10:43 AM
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cdnico

Posts: 1
Joined: 13 November 2012

I am in the same situation, i am only 40 credits short of finishing my HNC in Electronic/Electrical Engineering after being made redundant after 15 years in the Army.

So my choices are either to finish my HNC off, or to study towards a HND, in both choices i want to progress to doing a BEng or BSC.

What are the total credits needed for a HNC and HND and are any of the credits gained contribute towards your degree.

many thans
 07 December 2012 05:08 PM
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neilgeorge

Posts: 1
Joined: 13 November 2012

Gruff I am a REME tech and would be interested in the contact details for Geoff too, I am looking into the HNC course atm I have applied to Blackburn College already but the tutor contact they have given me is currently stalling on processing it any further.

A couple of other guy I know are having the same problem with them and if Geoff could get our applications moving then I would be very interested in speaking to him, and also to find out abit more about the structure of the course as I am out the Army soon and will be doing it from civvy street.

Thanks in advance
 08 December 2012 01:13 AM
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Gruff

Posts: 74
Joined: 18 December 2010

Hello Neil,

I didn't want to post Geoff's email address directly here in the forum, so have sent it (and a phone number) to you via PM. Hopefully he can assist with getting your application moving.

I know that they still can't progress HN students on to the B.Eng top up so that would account for the hold up if you were a degree candidate, but I don't know why there would be a delay in getting you started on your HNC. Which tutor is sitting on things?

The Blackburn approach is hard work but fast, and I genuinely think you'll enjoy it. The course there is full of forces lads (and those like you, just leaving/left). It seems to suit them very well, they all crack on and do well.

Let me know if you have any questions about the course or modules.
 29 January 2013 02:34 PM
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MNapier

Posts: 1
Joined: 29 January 2013

I am also in the RAF as an Aircraft Technician (Avionics) and I started a BEng (B65) in June 12 and so far it is going well and doesn't cost too much either. The most difficult part is keeping the motivation up when really I just want to go out climbing or cycling! It doesn't take up all my time though and tutorials are just one Saturday a month and are optional but recommended.

Your problem will be that joining the Open University now will mean doing the Q65 route which is much more expensive at £5000 per 120 credits, and also has no flexibility on what you study once you pick a pathway. If you can afford it then I highly recommend getting your degree that way.

Michael
 30 January 2013 03:57 PM
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CelticHeathen

Posts: 46
Joined: 10 December 2012

I have done my BEng (Hons) with the Open Uni and although I don't want to dissuade anyone, I should point out that their choice of subjects is very limited.

For instance, I work in Electrical/Power Engineering and they have next to nothing in that field (apparently they scrapped their Instrumentation courses as well, for "economic" reasons). While it has widened my area of knowledge, having to study subjects in other areas of Engineering has not impressed my employers, who would otherwise have taken great interest in seeing me develop my skills and knowledge in our field. My chances of progression with them has not been helped as a result.

I will be doing my MSc/MEng elsewhere, because of this. LJMU is widely recommended and I am discussing enrolling with them. It is worth "shopping around", given that red-brick Universities are adapting to the needs of many of us, especially those of us who are working F/T and need to juggle study with career development.
 01 February 2013 04:42 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
Joined: 13 June 2005

Originally posted by: ddenyer
-Completing a HNC/D at Teeside University (Electrical/Electronic Engineering) then topping it up to a degree

-Completing an Open University Engineering degree

Could anyone shed light on what would be the best path?

In the present economic climate, you're better off doing the HNC for the following reasons:

It is a shorter course than a degree.
It is considerably cheaper than a degree.
Promotion prospects are likely sooner, than with a degree: HNC is 2 yrs PT and Degree 4-6 yrs PT.

Once you've gained your HNC and higher paid job , you can consider further studies towards degree.

Hope that helps.
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