After being out of education for many years, 37-year-old Amin Bensiali returned to college in 2012 to study for the part-time HNC in mechanical engineering, progressed to an HND qualification and, just six years later, has graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering from Oxford Brookes University.
Amin, who has worked in the compressed cryogenic gas industry for the last 11 years, said: “I first went to university when I left school but realised, at that age, that it wasn’t the right environment for me to maximise my potential so I left and started working instead.
“However, despite being successful in what I did I always felt that there was ‘something missing’ and so I returned to college to do my HNC and HND in order to gain the qualifications I needed to apply to university as a mature student.
“Studying at college was the ideal learning environment for someone like me who had been out of education for many years – it offered university-level teaching with the one-to-one support and personal feedback. This allowed me to hone my learning, writing and presentation skills and, by the time I came to complete my degree, the quality of my work was far superior than fellow students who had gone through university from the start.
“Studying at a college allows you to learn academically and apply what you learn directly in your day-to-day work life and moulds you into a modern-day engineer with managerial skills and financial knowhow.”
Amin, who now plans to obtain chartered status within the industry, added: “I feel, relieved, content and proud to have achieved my degree.”