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Topic Title: IEng what's the best route? BEng at O.U?
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Created On: 03 December 2013 05:37 PM
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 03 December 2013 05:37 PM
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Joined: 03 December 2013

Good Afternoon,

Please could you offer me some advice regarding my career path in Civil Engineering.

I am currently working at Gatwick Airport as a newly promoted Senior Site Agent for the main maintanence framework contractor here. We carry out various maintenance, project and now building works.

I have been with the company over 6 years now and in the industry pushing 11 years (4 of which involved various block release periods during my modern apprenticeship studying fo BETEC NVQ III and HNC in Civl Engineering).

My next aim is to become a Project Manager but also IEng accredited. The question is what is the best path to get me there??

During my appraisal it was mentioned that the company would not want me to go to unversity one day a week to do a BEng/MEng in Civil Engineering wth Project Management at Greenwhich University which sounded ideal.

Instead they recommended I look into my "Plan B" which was Open University studying for a BEng of Engineering (Q65). Which is meant to be accredited IMechE, CIBSE, IED and meets requirements for the Enginering Council under UK-SPEC. I have actually emailed ICE also and they said this course would be ok to do if I do the modules they mention, athough it is not officially accredited by them.

They did say I could get to IEng or CEng but it would take longer and need a full assessment etc.

Currently I am more on the building side of things with some civils works which is a nice refreshing challenge and it's nice to blend the two together. But I need to improve my building knowledge so they suggested maybe a night school of some sorts to find a course for that.

So in summary I want to be IEng accredited become a Project Manager and improve my knowledge both in buidling/civils theory and contractually (work suggested a Bezzant course for this).

What is the best path?
Is O.U worth doing?
How long does it take P/T with a full time job working 10-12 hous a day with 2 hours travel?
Is it too much to do the learing and go for IEng?

Sorry for the looooooong post but this is important to me and I want to get as much advice as possible. Thanks in advance for any replys!!

 04 December 2013 02:20 PM
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James Broughton

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Joined: 25 May 2006

Hi Sam,

I'm a big fan of the OU, I've studied quite a few courses with them over the years and am currently undertaking some Post-Grad study with them.

There are a couple of things in your post which need considering:

1) As far as I'm aware you don't need a degree for IEng, just equal or equivalent learning or experience.

2) If your goal is to become a Project Manager, something like PRINCE2 or AGILE may be more relevant than IEng, although I wouldn't want to put you off studying.

3) The OU have recently changed their degree structure, with the BEng now having a fixed route. I've not looked at it, but I think it is based on studying 60 'credits' per year, so giving a 6-year completion time. You can study more per year (to a normal max of 120) but this is equivalent to full-time study, you can also study (I think) 30 credits per year, but obviously this will take longer

4) The expected study time for 60 credits is 600 hours, spread over around 9 months. I think it's supposed to be around 16 hours per week (8 per week for a 30 credit course). If you're out of the house between 12-14 hours per day, you'll have busy weekends! That's not to say it can't be done, but if you have a family etc, it can get tricky fitting study time in around everything else.

Don't think that I'm trying to put you off the idea of studying though, I'm a great advocate of learning. Perhaps your employer would be agreeable to allowing you some study hours during the week? Mine offers 3 or 4 hours per week paid study time for those on the employee scholarship scheme, so it could be worth the discussion.

Good luck if you do decide to do it!

'This place would be a paradise tomorrow, if every department had a supervisor with a sub-machine gun'
 05 December 2013 10:34 PM
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My wife has just completed a BA with OU.
Generally she has been very pleased with the courses and the support but found some of the lecture locations difficult to get to. 6 years is a massive commitment.

You don't need a degree or masters to gain IEng or CEng, it just makes it easier for the assessors. My IET mentor was very positive about experienced applicants without degrees. Unfortunately many institutions believe academic qualifications are the only way of demonstrating competence.

 09 December 2013 10:01 AM
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Hi James/Parsley,

Thank you for the responses they have been very helpful.

Looking at the flowchart from ICE it shows a path from HND to Further Learning then IDP but there is an option for "Other" which for some reason skips Further Learning. I'm just wondering whre my HNC would sit?

I guess I want the IEng to show competancy, recognition and become more marketable for the future. The PRINCE2 I hope would help me gain the necsessary skills to become a good PM which you won't necessarily get via O.U/ICE.

6 years is a long time, I didn't realise that it was so many hours to credits! If I'm honest with myself even that could be a struggle with my current lifestyle! I was hoping to get both BEng and IEng in three years way too ambitious me thinks! I'm sure work could support me with some study time but would it be enough!

I think the route to IEng may dictate my decision on this one!

Thanks again.
 09 December 2013 11:07 AM
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Arrange to see a PRA and put a request into your institution for a mentor. They will be able to review your current experience and knowledge against the 16 IEng competencies and will be able to assist you to decide what route will be most beneficial to you.

You may be at the required level before the six year OU degree is completed.

 09 December 2013 12:08 PM
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Thanks for the swift response.

I have been given a big folder to read through from my employer and a mentor within the company to act as the SCE/DE. It seems there is a proper training scheme in place.

This refers me to the ICE 3004A for Non-Standar Routes to Membership which says that an HNC meets the educational benchmark plus approriate further learning to IEng degree level.

It does say under section 3.2.3.
Further learning through work-based educational
Further learning is a structured means of using workbased
educational experience which when added to
a Higher National Certificate/Diploma or Foundation
degree programme can enhance your academic base to
that required for a Member Incorporated Engineer.
It requires you, with the help of a professional engineer
acting as a mentor, to plan, record and reflect specific
work experiences to demonstrate the additional new
learning achieved. Full details are available on

So from that do you think it is safe to assume I do not actually need to a BEng or anything like that just a structured programme with the SCE/DE to put together the necessary reports, IPD, PR etc. to meet the criteria? Thanks.

 09 December 2013 01:08 PM
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You don't need the BEng to gain IEng but it will be a lot easier to meet the criteria with one. If someone was offering to pay for me to do a BEng I would go for it. The engineering principles that you will study will enable you apply for a wider range of roles in the future.

HR dept don't really recognise IEng, they have a spec that states BEng or MEng required. The IEng might help you get the job if the other shortlisted BEng applicant hasn't got one.

If you're under 30 and haven't got started a family yet what have you got to lose? You can still start recording how you meet the IEng competencies today.

 09 December 2013 02:09 PM
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Ah I see so it can be done but easier wth the BEng

That's true. I won't be having a family for another 2 years probably (that's when the Mrs wants to start trying) so maybe I can work even harder and get a good head start, maybe even do extra.

I'm sure work would support me with study time if required.

I think that's it then, do the BEng concurrently with the IEng/maybe even CEng if I'm doing the BEng now and get it all wrapped up within 6 years and sooner if time (and baby making) allows it!

Many thanks for your help.
 10 December 2013 05:15 AM
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You said you didn't realise it would take so long to get the credits.

A full time BEng course is 3 years, part time logically has to be longer. My MSc program is a one year full time or two year part-time course, I am part-time.

With regards to the BEng making the application for IEng easier, make sure it is accredited by ECUK, if that is the path you want to go down.

Simon Long CMgr FCMI FInstLM

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