Studying for an Eastwood Park degree: Simon's experience

Simon is the Estates Manager – Compliance and Sustainability for The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RJAH), a leading orthopaedic centre of excellence providing a range of musculoskeletal, surgical, medical and rehabilitation services. He is currently in his second year on Eastwood Park’s Foundation degree in hospital engineering.

He began his career as an Apprentice Gas Fitter on housing projects and retrofits/boiler swaps, before moving across to the health service, spending two years as a Fitter at Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board. Simon then joined his current organisation, RJAH, as a Mechanical Fitter, working within a busy estates department which covers both hard and soft facilities management for the site.

At the start of the second year of Simon’s degree, he was promoted to Estates Manager, with specific responsibilities for compliance and sustainability.

“I had requested support from my Trust to undertake an HNC in engineering and my Director of Estates & Facilities suggested I look into a degree instead.

“I had already attended several Competent and Authorised Persons courses at Eastwood Park and heard about the degrees on offer. A specific foundation degree in hospital engineering seemed like a much more relevant qualification for my career path.”

One year in, Simon has already seen the positive impact that the degree is having

“It complements my current role as Estates Manager and I’m frequently able to implement ideas and improvements

“A real benefit of the degree so far has been the improvement to my technical expertise. I’m now able to confidently challenge peers and consultants such as Authorising Engineers, with knowledge in specialist subjects, particularly around the HTMs.

“Furthermore, I believe I would now be a much stronger candidate when applying for a promotion or external vacancy, as senior management positions do often require a degree.”

Simon is keen to highlight however, that it is not just himself who has benefited.

“Throughout the programme, there are opportunities to review or audit processes in the workplace and therefore make improvements for the safety of patients and staff, plus save money where possible.

“I’m really passionate about sharing my knowledge and expertise with peers, so my estates colleagues, in particular, also benefit. The degree raises the bar for estates professionals, which will ultimately improve patient care.

“In fact, the RJAH estates department has been so impressed with this programme that we have now implemented a development program for new and aspiring engineers, which I manage.

“We provide funding and support for technicians in junior roles to complete the degree and in-house training. I really enjoy mentoring and supporting these colleagues; it pushes me to raise my game so as to set an example for them.”

So what advice would Simon offer those considering applying for Eastwood Park’s healthcare engineering degrees this year?

“Consider the support you’ll need at home and at work; I’ve been very lucky and had strong support from both which has really helped take the pressure off.

“A degree is a significant undertaking, but if you put the effort in, it really is so rewarding.”

Download this case study here and find out more about our degrees here.

Our next intake starts October 2019, so call +44 (0)1454 262777 or email us to register your place in good time.