Fitzegerald Chikoba has a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Civil Engineering. Now he’s an Apprentice in the Highways and Transportation Dept. for Leeds City Council. He’s shaping our world in the pandemic…
How have you managed your studies during the pandemic?
Due to the pandemic we were unable to attend college, and studying from home became the new normal. At first, this was difficult due to the lack of face to face interaction with my tutors and colleagues. However, I quickly adapted to studying at home. Using Microsoft Teams, setting up a suitable learning environment and creating a clear structure to my day enabled me to focus.
We live in a world where most people rely on technology, I used that to my advantage by attending the online classes. The BTEC course has improved my competency with different computer software packages which helped me when using Microsoft Teams and other methods to communicate easily with everyone online.
Leeds City College have been very supportive during this time, ensuring there is open communication whilst we are working from home. My BTEC tutors set regular meetings on Microsoft Teams, allowing us to discuss work and ask any questions we had.
The communications skills I learnt during my BTEC really helped me to correspond with my tutors during this pandemic.
How did your BTEC qualification help prepare you for this current situation?
My BTEC in Civil Engineering has proved useful throughout this pandemic. I have been able to build upon my organisation, communication, and problem-solving skills leant on the BTEC course.
Being able to stay focused and organised whilst working from home has ensured I finish my assignments on time and stay disciplined to complete my college work to the best of my ability.
What is your current role?
As part of my apprenticeship, I have been part of an industry placement and during the pandemic I have been mainly been working from home and only go on site occasionally.
At the start of the pandemic, I oversaw the pavement reinstatement works in Leeds City Centre, constructing safety bollards in various locations around town, including the top and bottom of the main high street.
At present, I am supporting the parking improvements scheme which includes redesigning areas, road markings and resurfacing on carriageways.
What inspired you to want to go into a key worker supporting industry?
Civil Engineering is one of the best industries to work in for numerous reasons. We live in a constantly growing and evolving world therefore demand for infrastructure is also increasing. I love that I can help shape the world around me to meet the demands of the future, whilst also working in a sector I enjoy.
Furthermore, I find it rewarding to give back to the community that I live in by working on schemes around the city.
Do you have plans for further study?
The next step in my career is completing a BTEC Higher National in Civil Engineering, as part of my Higher-Level Apprenticeship. Once I have undertaken this, I am hoping to progress on to the Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering.
In terms of the industry experience, I am continuously improving my knowledge which will enable me to progress further into larger projects and supervise bigger schemes in the future.
If you were to recommend a BTEC, what are the reasons you would give?
I would recommend BTECs as you gain suitable hands on experience in the industry you are studying for. This is great for your development, not only do you again a qualification, you will also be industry-ready.