Higher Education Case Studies

Alex HoughtonAlex Houghton – HND Aeronautical Engineering

Alex Houghton decided to follow in the family footsteps and study Aeronautical Engineering after completing a BTEC in Engineering.

“I’d always been interested in the sector and I suppose it was inevitable I’d follow the family and specialise in aeronautical engineering. I’m loving my course at Preston’s College and it’s great to see how far I’ve progressed over the past 18 months.

“My work placement at Morson Projects gives me the opportunity to put my skills into practice two days a week. I use my CAD skills and recreate them in the software package and extensively test them. It’s useful being in a real working environment, collaborating with colleagues and working to deadlines. Next step for me is to progress to a Top-Up Degree at the College.”


Jake FieldJake Field – HNC Mechanical and Production Engineering

Production Operator, Jake Field, decided to invest in additional training to progress his career after more than ten years’ service with leading UK boiler manufacturer Baxi Heating.

“I decided to invest and go back to College to complete a HNC Mechanical and Production Engineering.

“I’d not studied for 14 years but the staff and tutors were very supportive and helped me with the mix of assessments which included a dissertation.

“My employer has given me secondment onto a development project in engineering which allows me to apply my learning to a live work project which is great. My next step is to progress onto a degree level course at Preston’s College.”


Suzy TroakeSuzy Troake – BSc (Hons) Person Centred Counselling & Psychotherapy (Top-Up)

“I had the best time studying at Preston’s College. The course was incredible, really interesting and I’ve met friends for life. The support I got from my tutors and other students was brilliant and really helpful.”

After completing Level 2 Counselling Skills, Level 3 Diploma and a Top up Degree in Counselling at Preston’s College, Suzy Troake went onto to University to study a Masters in Psychology.

“I think the course offers some really interchangeable skills, like the ability to read someone and understanding yourself as a person so I can look at numerous roles in the future, in addition to running my own business.”

She now runs her own private practice and has set up a volunteer service in a local prison.


Gemma SlaterGemma Slater – BA (Hons) Degree in Child and Youth Studies

After 13 years in her role as a Cover Supervisor at Secondary School, Gemma Slater completed a BA (Hons) Degree in Child and Youth Studies at Preston’s College.

“It took time to get back into studying but now I love it.

“I’d been out of education for a while but I really enjoy learning and putting my new skills into practice in my current role, and sharing them with my colleagues.

“It’s a challenge to juggle a job, family and work but I have a good support network and it helps that I find the work really interesting. I’m going to be doing a PCGE next, and eventually I’d love to be a lecturer.”


Sue McKitterick – BA (Hons) Degree in Child and Youth Studies

Sue McKitterick is a Primary School Teaching and Welfare Assistant and she’s completed the two year Foundation Degree, and progressed on to a Top-Up course to gain her BA (Hons) Degree in Child and Youth Studies at Preston’s College.

“The course is challenging but enjoyable, so much so I find myself missing the learning over the summer break.

“I get a lot of support from my tutors who are really helpful and encouraging.

“I made the decision to get back into education as I felt I’d gone as far as I could in my career and wanted to progress and move up. I’m still considering my next steps but doing these courses at Preston’s College has definitely given me the confidence to move onto my PCGE and become a primary school teacher if that’s what I decide.”


Jo GrubbJo Grubb – Foundation Degree Post 14 Education & Training (with Cert. Ed)

Jo Grubb has always been interesting in teaching but didn’t think she had the time or focus for study as a busy mum with three children. She did and graduated from Preston’s College with the PGCE Post 14 qualification.

“My course gave me confidence in dealing with young people and helped me learn how to structure my time effectively. I had to be very motivated and it was a challenge to study part-time over the two years but the course was flexible and the tutor was brilliant, very patient and supportive. I think Preston’s College is good at taking people with little experience and transforming them into well prepared, work ready individuals.”

Jo now works as a High Needs Co-ordinator and supports students who need additional help to study at a College.


Gary FisherGary Fisher – HNC Construction

Gary began his career sixteen years ago working as a Design Engineer within the Construction industry. He has recently returned to college to study a HNC in Construction, with the goal to develop knowledge and skills that would take his career to the next level.

“As a design engineer I have found that my role is quite specialised and it can be difficult to find new learning opportunities. The HNC at Preston’s College is the perfect platform for me to develop my knowledge of a wide range of construction topics and demonstrate my capacity to learn. It has already proved invaluable in my current role and I know it will help me secure a promotion in the near future.”