Learner Case Study: Ruth Barker (HNC in Lighting Design and Technology)

Student Profile

Ruth Barker
Assistant Engineer - Operations, Design and Delivery, Operations and Neighbourhoods, Tameside MBC



Ruth started working with Tameside MBC as a Gardener and was soon promoted to a Greenspace Project Support Officer which involved her organising a number of Christmas lights switch on events in the local area.

Austerity cuts at the council meant she was moved to the Engineering department. However, she was soon brought back to the Street Lighting section at the Council who had got to know of her work ethics from arranging Christmas Lights events.

Ruth’s commitment to her new role led to another promotion in August 2017 as Assistant Engineer in the Operations and Neighbourhoods department of the Council.

Ruth started working for the Tameside MBC with A-level or equivalent qualification in Environmental Science and Horticulture and had no formal qualifications in lighting. Subsequently, she enrolled on to Institute of Lighting Professional (ILP) Exterior Diploma and Lighting Reality.



Ruth was offered the opportunity to gain additional qualifications after being promoted as Assistant Engineer. She started searching the internet for part-time lighting related HNC courses, but there was nothing available at the time.

Ruth recalled seeing the LIA’s Dr Gareth John speaking at the ILP’s Midland Region Technical Meeting in 2017 and visited the LIA website for more information. On the LIA website, she found information about the Lighting Industry Academy and the HNC in Lighting Design and Technology that was to commence with its first cohort in September.

Given the modules based schedule and part-time availability of the course, the HNC fitted nicely around Ruth’s home and work commitments.

The fact that the Lighting Industry Academy is linked to the LIA – the largest lighting trade association in Europe, and incorporates a leading product testing lab dedicated to lighting, gave Ruth the confidence about the course. Knowing that the HNC is offered in conjunction with the University of South Wales, providing a university recognised qualification, with the option to get a degree on further study, convinced her that it was the right course for expanding the knowledge base and understanding of lighting and lighting components for her career.


Learning Experience

Ruth knew that entering higher education after a gap of over 20 years was going to be challenging, but she has found the experience very satisfying, and by her own admission, absolutely worthwhile.

She has been impressed by the course content which combines technical and practical sessions at state-of-the-art facilities, all delivered by tutors who are leading lighting industry experts.

The online resource from USW and ongoing support from the tutors has been helpful in getting Ruth through the course; so is being able to learn and share knowledge with a group of likeminded individuals who are all involved in lighting.

Having completed her first year of study, Ruth is looking forward to adding to her knowledge next year, passing the HND and exploring the numerous facets within lighting to find her area of preference to work in.



“I Joined the Lighting Industry Academy to do the part-time HNC in Lighting Design and Technology as it was a fantastic opportunity to progress both my knowledge and career with a UCAS recognisable qualification. The block release units have fit around my full-time career and family life, making the course accessible to those with high commitment levels.

“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.

“I would recommend this course to anyone entering lighting, wanting to progress their careers or expand their knowledge.”

- Ruth Barker

Course Summary

The Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Lighting Design and Technology is the first, and as things stand, the only qualification in lighting at this level in the UK available for new entrants and those looking to further develop existing careers within the lighting industry.

The qualification was created in partnership between the Lighting Industry Association (LIA) and the University of South Wales (USW), and is delivered jointly by leading industry experts through the Lighting Industry Academy and USW.

The course is available as both part-time and full-time, with the modules scheduled in blocks to enable students to work around their home and work commitments. It is suitable for those looking to develop their understanding of light, lighting technologies, design and their applications.

  • Delivered in partnership with University of South Wales
  • Taught by the leading lighting industry experts
  • Gain knowledge to apply directly to your role
  • Scheduled learning blocks to manage time around work commitments
  • Option to take your education in lighting to the degree level