LEARNER CASE STUDY: RUTH BARKER (HNC IN LIGHTING DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY)
11 March 2020
Posted by: Jo Jackson
Assistant Engineer - Operations, Design and Delivery, Operations and Neighbourhoods, Tameside MBC
Ruth started at Tameside MBC with an A-level equivalent qualification in Environmental Science and Horticulture, but had no formal qualifications in lighting. When a promotion, to Assistant Engineer in the Operations and Neighbourhoods department of the Council, provided the opportunity to gain further qualifications, Ruth began her search for education relevant to her role.
Ruth soon discovered, like many others in local authorities around the country already had, that suitable formal UCAS recognised lighting related qualifications were completely lacking. Fortunately for Ruth though, within weeks of her promotion, the Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Higher National Degree (HND) in Lighting Design and Technology were launched; qualifications designed for new entrants, and those looking to further develop existing careers involved in lighting.
The new qualifications are the result of a partnership between the Lighting Industry Association (LIA) and the University of South Wales (USW), and are delivered by leading industry experts. The LIA is the largest lighting trade association in Europe, incorporating a leading product testing lab dedicated to lighting. The partnership with the University of South Wales, and possibility of taking an extra year to achieve a full degree, convinced Ruth that this was the right course for her career; offering the opportunity to expand her knowledge and understanding of lighting, design, components and much more.
The course is available both part-time and full-time, with the modules scheduled in blocks that help students to work around their home and work commitments. It is suitable for those looking to further develop their understanding and application of light, lighting technologies and design.
After contacting the LIA for more information, Ruth joined the first intake of students in September 2017. The part time, modules based schedule, worked well around home and work commitments, and even left her time to get married this year. She admits that entering higher education after a gap of over 20 years was daunting, but Ruth found the experience very satisfying, and by her own admission ‘absolutely worthwhile’:
“I chose to do the part-time HNC and HND in Lighting Design and Technology as it was a fantastic opportunity to progress both my knowledge and career with a University recognised qualification. The block release units fit around my full-time career and family life, making the course accessible to those with high commitment levels”
Ruth has been impressed by the course content, all delivered by tutors who are leading experts in the lighting industry, and how it is combined with technical and practical sessions using state-of-the-art LIA Laboratory facilities:
“The course units have expanded my knowledge significantly, are relevant to my employment for local authority street lighting and cover a wide scope of lighting associated disciplines”
Online resources from USW and the ongoing LIA support are there to tap in to. Fellow students are also there, and offer the opportunity to learn and share knowledge with a group of likeminded individuals, many already involved in lighting.
Having completed the first year of study, Ruth is looking forward to continuing to develop her knowledge when the next modules of the HNC commence in September. Her sights are then set to carry on to the HND to further explore the numerous facets within lighting, and to identify her area of preference to work in:
“I would recommend this course to anyone entering lighting, wanting to expand their knowledge and progress their careers.”