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Students recognised for engineering excellence

30th November 2017

Three engineering students from Newcastle-under-Lyme College (NULC) have been recognised for their hard work and commitment by a leading industry body, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), with Local Network Prize awards for the North West Midlands.

Foundation Degree in Engineering students, Stuart Simpson, aged 30 from Rugeley, Craig Johnson, aged 24 from Uttoxeter and James Halliwell, aged 24 from Alsager, were each presented with the IET Local Network Prize for Student Excellence, at a ceremony held at the College on Thursday 30 November 2017.

Mike Collins of the IET North West Midlands Network said: “The IET is dedicated to developing the next generation of engineers. This award is for students with the ambition to progress to professional engineer status so we wish Stuart, Craig and James wonderful careers with lots of challenges and enjoyment.”

As well as the recognition of the award, all three students were granted two years of free IET membership, giving them access to a professional support network, along with £250.

The students were all nominated to receive an award by Dave Halliwell, Curriculum Leader for Higher Education in Engineering at NULC, who said: “We’re incredibly proud of the student’s contribution to our engineering department, Stuart, Craig and James have shown outstanding commitment to their current programmes of study and are all looking forward to furthering their careers within the engineering sector.”

He added: “The IET presents a yearly award to students at FE colleges who provide training for engineers. The chosen winners are selected not just for their academic ability but also their skills in working with others, their attitude to their studies and their contribution to the lessons they attend.”

Stuart Simpson, who originally gained a degree in Sports Science, but decided to pursue a career with ABB after he saw the range of opportunities available during several work experience placements, said: “My five years at NULC has enabled me to develop the theoretical knowledge needed in order to support my role within the workplace. The lecturers were very supportive throughout and appreciate that as students we have varied knowledge, levels of competency and experiences. I would advise others to study engineering related subjects, as there are many exciting opportunities within the industry.”

Craig Johnson Joined ABB as an Apprentice in September 2012. He has spent the majority of his apprenticeship in a commercial bidding role, creating plans and schedules for electrical substation projects.

Craig said: “It’s great to get respect from your colleagues and know that you are a valued member of the team. ABB is such a large organisation and there are so many possible avenues I could follow in my career. I’m really excited to be nominated for this award and the fact that I’m doing so well at NULC is really encouraging.”

James Halliwell, joined GE, formally Alstom Grid Solutions in 2011, as an Advanced Apprentice, where he was involved in the design and manufacture of high voltage power transformers for the power industry. He has since progressed within the company to become a Buying/Procurement Specialist, spending his time working throughout Europe liaising with sub-contractors and ensuring that component parts for major GE projects are manufactured and supplied on time.

Reflecting on his award win, James said: “I really enjoyed the presentation, I think it has rounded off the Foundation Degree chapter of my education very nicely and I’m extremely grateful for the recognition. I will continue to work hard and use my experience to further my career.”

The IET, formed in March 2006 by a merger of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers, has more than 150,000 members in 127 countries and is an awarding body for professional qualifications in ICT and Engineering under licence from the Engineering Council.

NULC currently works with over 800 employers across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire in a range of sectors including Construction and Engineering, Childcare, Health and Social Care, Business, Retail and Hair and Beauty, and has success rates significantly higher than the national average. 

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