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WMG graduates who worked while studying already promoted

Gordon HarrisGordon Harris from Solihull has worked in engineering for almost thirty years, and has just gained long-wished-for academic qualifications – boosting his career – after graduating with the first cohort from the Applied Engineering Programme (AEP) at WMG, University of Warwick.

Harris has been an employee at Jaguar for twenty-eight years, most recently for the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering team at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). Born and raised in Solihull, he always dreamed of getting a university education, but wasn’t able to fit in studying whilst working a full-time job.

JLR sponsored Gordon to enrol on the AEP, a four year part-time specialised WMG degree course, in 2013. Since beginning the course, he has been promoted to Lead Engineer for a JLR project.

“The learning gained during the last four years has helped me to achieve my promotion and additional responsibilities with my current role,” said Gordon. “The course has encouraged my development and has given me greater insight across more aspects of the business, which has helped me with my day to day role.”

The part-time AEP course enables people who already work in industry, of all ages and backgrounds, to gain a formal engineering qualification, offering a flexible and non-traditional path into university education.

On the course itself, Gordon commented: “The AEP broadens your thinking when discussing or requesting tasks from different departments, it enables you to give greater detail, challenge responses and even understand additional complexity within a specific task.”

Ashley Pickard from Redditch – who also graduated this week - joined JLR as a structural test fitter in 2012. When the opportunity arose to be sponsored by the Ashley Pickardcompany to study for a WMG degree whilst still being able to work, he jumped at it.

“I knew that it was a great opportunity, and JLR’s partnership with WMG was the perfect combination,” Ashley commented. “Being able to have a full engineering degree with honours was the driving force of wanting to do the course - as well as increasing my knowledge.”

Since undertaking the AEP course, Ashley has also achieved a promotion, now working as a test engineer, operating and managing projects.

He explains: “My department recognised the knowledge I was gaining from the degree, an engineering role became available and I was successful in gaining a promotion near the end of my second year on the course.”

“Having the degree will help me to continue to further my career.” Ashley states.

Professor Steve Maggs is a Professorial Teaching Fellow and Director of Undergraduate Programmes at WMG. He commented:

“It’s great to see our first set of graduates on this innovative programme. The Applied Engineering Programme was designed for people already working in an engineering company to deepen and broaden their knowledge and skills and to be able them to solve real engineering problems.

“By using work-based case studies in our teaching, work-based academic research projects, and by ensuring that module assignments are based on real engineering issues, the degree has allowed the students to add value both during the degree and after they have graduated.

“It is a challenging way to study, and students have to work hard to balance the demands of the job and their studies. We are delighted to see these students graduating and wish them all the best in their future careers as graduate engineers.”


For more information on the Bachelor's Degree (BEng) - Applied Engineering Programme at WMG, click here.

Image 1: Gordon Harris, credit WMG, University of Warwick - CLICK IMAGE FOR HIGH RES.

Image 2: Ashley Pickard (L) and Professor Kevin Neailey (R), credit WMG, University of Warwick.