Former HND Mechanical Engineering student
Currently working on the propulsion system for the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear submarines as a Mechanical Engineer at BAE Systems.
I'm Robbie Murchison, I am 32 and studied for my HND Mechanical Engineering at Kelvin College.
After working in casual positions for a few years following an earlier qualification in Social Sciences, I returned to education as a mature student to study Mechanical Engineering, which I had always been curious about – but also apprehensive, due to the perceived depth of learning required!
I decided to enrol with Kelvin College because it has a great Engineering campus with new, well outfitted workshops and on my first visit to learn more about the course, the lecturers talked engagingly about the curriculum and were clearly interested and enthusiastic.
The course itself covers a broad spectrum of engineering disciplines and allowed me to gain skills and knowledge in areas such as CNC machining, milling, and turning alongside technical and theoretical subjects like maths, dynamics, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics – all of which have directly supported me both academically and professionally. I particularly loved being able to work on hands-on engineering projects in the workshop backed up by engineering theory, for example during our HND project to design and manufacture an electric race car (which I crashed at the end of the year..).
The lecturers were keen, generous with their time, and knowledgeable. They also had strong industry backgrounds and were able to contextualise the theory and skills we were learning against academic and professional objectives – balanced with interesting and entertaining stories from the workplace.
In terms of how the course has supported my own goals, it enabled me to enter into a Graduate Apprenticeship with GCU and an Aerospace & Defence machining company as a Quality Assurance Engineer. My application and interview revolved around the HND work and the range of experiences gained at Kelvin.
After completing the Graduate Apprenticeship late 2022, I started as a Mechanical Engineer at BAE Systems, where I currently work with the rest of my team to deliver the propulsion systems for the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear submarine. The technical and practical work at Kelvin gave me the foundation I needed to pursue this role.
If you are thinking about going back into education, I would say – the sooner the better! But my advice would be that when you do start, it is easier to work hard at the beginning than to catch up at the end!