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The Sheffield College
Curtis Farley

Success Story

Curtis Farley

BTEC Extended Diploma in Civil Engineering

I had the option to go to either Doncaster College (Hometown) or The Sheffield College but I chose Sheffield due to facilities on offer and the experience the course tutors had. The option to do the BTEC Extended Diploma in Civil Engineering was the main reason I chose The Sheffield College as other local colleges did not offer this, they only offered Construction and the Built Environment or Civil Engineering to a lower level.

“All the staff who taught me had relevant experience in the modules they were teaching; this made it a lot easier to understand the basics for each module.”

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What were the most important skills you learnt on your course?
The main skill I gained from the course was setting up different instruments for setting out and surveying. Although this was to a basic level it put me at an advantage when I got to university. Using software such as AutoCAD also highly benefited me as this is also used at university level.

I wouldn’t say I gained one particular skill, more an overall knowledge and a better understanding of the Construction and Civil Engineering industries as a whole.


Do you have any comments on the tutors who taught/supported you during your time here?
The tutors were helpful from the start to the finish of my course. They really helped organise my workload on the course. All the staff who taught me had relevant experience in the modules they were teaching which made it a lot easier to understand the basics for each module. All the tutors were friendly and welcoming, as well as being willing to help you at any time, so if I ever had any issues I was never worried because they were always on hand to help.

The tutors don’t have a strict approach to teaching which makes the working environment a lot better and more relaxed, which really suited my learning style. The tutors who taught Mathematics and Structural Engineering helped me a lot as they prepared me for the Mathematics that I would face at university.


Were there any facilities you found particularly useful when doing your course?
The surveying equipment that the college uses was particularly useful to me as surveying and setting out is a major part of the Civil Engineering degree which I am currently studying. Using AutoCAD at college was also good as it allowed me to get a good grasp of the basics before you get to university, so you have an advantage on your peers from day one.


What job do you do now, where do you do it and what do you like about it?
I am still a student and I am currently going into the final year of the MEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering (Sandwich) Degree at Liverpool John Moores University. I chose to do a Sandwich Degree because you get to spend a year out in industry in the 3rd year working with a civil engineering company. This provided me with site and office experience to help with my degree.

I was successful on my industrial placement and I am now a sponsored student with a large civil engineering contractor. I have enjoyed all aspects of my degree as it’s been challenging and you are constantly learning new things due to it being such a broad subject/industry. I also enjoyed my placement and being sponsored by a company as they offer incentives for working hard, which has helped me develop further.

How did your time at The Sheffield College help you to get the career that you have now?
I am still working towards a career in the Civil Engineering Industry as I am still a student, but I am taking the appropriate steps to achieve this. The tutors at The Sheffield College were one of the main reasons I was able to get to university to study Civil Engineering as they offered constant support and helped me gain the additional credits required to achieve the BTEC Extended Diploma in Civil Engineering.

Their experience and knowledge was very beneficial to my development at college as they were able to explain the topics in great detail. I wasn’t the highest achieving student at college but they always said if you knuckle down and work hard you will be able to achieve what I had set out to do - originally studying the BEng in Civil Engineering but, due to achieving good grades in the first two years of the degree, I have now already succeeded that and have been invited on to the Integrated Masters.