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I Did The Wrong Degree Now I Fear I’ll Never Be An Engineer


I got all the wrong advice at school and now I feel stuck and unable to get the career as an engineer that I really want.

When I was at school I struggled a bit with maths, but in the end with a lot of support (and lessons) from my parents, I comfortably gained a grade B GCSE in maths. I also really loved electronics and I was good at it – being awarded a prize for my GCSE project.

Nevertheless, I always thought that I would like to be a primary school teacher and I was advised to take my A-levels and then to apply for a university degree course in childhood studies, which I dutifully did. I gained A-levels in English literature, sociology and philosophy, then I studied hard for three years and gained a first-class honours degree in childhood and integrated studies.

I walked straight into a full time job at a nursery but after around a year I was told by my employers that they were going to move me onto an apprenticeship and pay me an apprentice wage. Needless to say, I left. I looked at accessing a career in teaching but I was told that even though I have a first class degree, with no A-level in science or maths this wasn’t an option for me.

I took on an admin role within an engineering company and found that I really enjoyed being involved in engineering, however my role only involved checking and signing off technical drawings and I felt that I was capable of much more so I applied for a junior CAD position and got it.

Having worked as a junior CAD engineer for over a year, I had learned so much it was unbelievable – I was working in 3D, which was something that not many others on the team could do and I really felt like I’d found my future career. I have since moved on to another company as a junior CAD designer and my hope was to develop as an engineer – the only problem? Although I can use the software and can do an awful lot I don’t think that I will ever be offered the opportunity to become a proper engineer because I don’t have an engineering qualification.

Whilst I’m sure that having a first class honours degree does me some good in putting myself forward, my lack of an engineering qualification seems to have prevented me from pursuing a career that I really want.

I hear about people doing great engineering apprenticeships and it makes me tremendously sad that this is not available to me because a) I have a degree and b) I’m now 25 years old. I’m now faced with trying to find an online HNC and HND course and effectively starting again from where I was when I was 17 even though at my age I’d love to be looking to buy my own home and progressing my career.

My advice – keep your options open by choosing subjects wisely and do loads of research because you might not get the right information when you’re at school.

Engineer dreamer wishes to remain anonymous but we are very grateful to her for sharing her story.




About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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