Enniskillen resident Nathan Shaw, 21, studies a Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) in Construction Engineering with Surveying at South West College. As part of his foundation degree level qualification, Nathan studies at the College one day per week and is employed four days a week at Tracey Concrete Ltd. He believes that this combination of work and study is laying the foundation of a promising future career.

Instead of pursuing an academic-only path after his GCSEs, Nathan chose to study a BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment at the Enniskillen Technology and Skills Centre campus. He then progressed onto a fully funded Ulster University Higher Level Apprenticeship in Construction Engineering with Surveying, meaning Nathan had no course fees to pay. This foundation degree level route at the College also allowed him to earn a wage while gaining onsite experience and working with professionals at Tracey Concrete Ltd in Enniskillen.

Nathan believes that the dual approach to learning through onsite experience and college theory application provides invaluable insight and he would 100% recommend this route to others considering a career in the construction sector.

In discussing his own career trajectory, Nathan, who has already made great strides, said:

"Choosing to take the practical route towards my dream career in the construction sector has been the best decision I have made. The hands-on experience and college theory application have opened my eyes to invaluable insight, and I would recommend this more hands on route to anyone with a passion for the field.

The higher level apprenticeship course offering at the College is a complete game-changer for anyone aspiring to a career in construction. It is so worth it! I don’t think I would be where I am financially without this option. It accelerates your career path, equipping you with years of hands-on experience, that makes you stand out amongst your peers."

In Nathan's eyes, fast-tracking your career is one of the most significant benefits of a HLA. By the time you graduate with qualifications, you already have years of working experience under your belt, setting you apart from other candidates entering the vibrant construction industry for the first time.

To learn more about construction-related courses and fully funded HLA programs, visit South West Colleges Apprentice Connect Events at Omagh campus on May 16, Dungannon campus on May 17, or the Skills Centre, Enniskillen on May 18 from 7-9pm. Or to apply, visit: www.swc.ac.uk/courses/hla

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