Keith Houghton is the Deputy Head of Estates & Site Services for Livewell Southwest, which provides health and social care in the community for people across Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon. He is currently studying for his BSc (Hons) management of healthcare engineering technologies & facilities with Eastwood Park, having already completed his hospital engineering foundation degree with us.
Keith’s main role within his estates department is to ensure that all buildings and services are safe, compliant and provide for the needs of the patients, overseeing the management of day to day operational services. He’s also responsible for ensuring services are delivered as efficiently as possible and within budget.
He explains his reasons for deciding to study for a degree
“Although I do have the equivalent knowledge, competence and experience, my role still requires a degree or equivalent and I found that I could not develop further within the organisation without having a formal qualification at this level.
“Therefore I knew that I would be unable to apply for positions such as Head of Estates and Site Services, and with the current post holder due to retire in a few years, my undertaking of the degree has been a key part of succession planning for my organisation, ensuring that there is somebody who can develop into the role.”
Although Keith had been aware of Eastwood Park’s degrees for a while, the idea of applying was really consolidated following his attendance at a HEFMA South West branch event where Eastwood Park presented on the programmes.
“Initially my interest in the degrees stemmed from achievement of gaining the qualification.
“But having completed the foundation degree and now deep into the BSc year three, I feel that I have developed enormously as a person - in the way I think about challenges and opportunities, how I approach tasks and my ability to plan and analyse.
“I also feel more confident in my ability to rationalise, research, plan and report on many different aspects at work. So I can definitely say that the investment in the degree studies, and in me, is already showing a return.
“There are two aspects of the degree that have really stood out to me so far. Firstly there’s the camaraderie with other students and the whole tutoring team, which really helps to keep things enjoyable.
“Secondly there are the personal benefits. The degree has really pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to look at challenges and opportunities in a different way.”
It comes as no surprise then, that Keith would encourage others working in healthcare engineering and estates and FM roles to undertake the degree themselves, and to future applicants, he offers the following advice
“Do not underestimate the hard work and commitment that you will need to succeed, but do embrace the opportunity to develop.
“Make sure you have the support of your employer and your family - there is a lot of work to be done, but the personal rewards far outweigh the personal and financial investment.
“I wish I had done it years ago!”