Charlie Passey won BTEC Engineering Student of the Year in 2015. Since winning his award, Charlie has gone on to achieve exciting things...
My name is Charlie Passey, and in July 2015 I won the BTEC Engineering Student of the Year award at The BTEC Awards. Since then, I am now part way through my year in industry, currently employed as an engineer for one of the UK’s leading audio-visual companies, and working to finish my Electrical Engineering degree at Swansea University. I’m also teaching myself Mandarin from a textbook in preparation for starting a summer school in Haikou, China in July.
Back in 2013, I started a BTEC in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at PETROC College, North Devon. I was working as a labourer at a construction site at the time and started my BTEC as it offered me a pathway into higher education, which is something I had previously considered out of my reach. During the two years I spent completing this BTEC course, I tried to do as much as I could in my free time to supplement my future university application, such as getting involved with The Radio Amateurs' Emergency Network, RAYNET, a voluntary service provided by amateur radio operators, as well as amateur radio in my local area. At the end of my course, I was awarded a triple D* grade, and more importantly, a place at Swansea University to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
University has been both an amazing experience, and an incredibly challenging one. It has shown me a lot about what I want to go on to do, and what I am going to have to do to get there. During my time so far, I have been part of a student-run wind turbine project, environmental programmes promoting better energy use, the electrical/electronic engineering society committee and was also part of an internship with the university to create an electronic light board. Currently, I am on my industry placement year which, it sits between my second and third year of my university degree.
At the end of my second year, I secured a place with one of the top audio visuals companies in the country to complete a year of work with. Within this company I am part of the operations team, where I work to assist other engineers with issues that occur on sites we have equipment installed at. This has been an amazing opportunity as I have been given the chance to both work, and support engineers out in Kuwait, manage smaller projects, and visit various sites around the UK to put in place solutions to recurring issues.
So, this is where I am currently, and I have about 2 months left of my internship before I finish my year with them and leave for summer. Over the break, I am moving out to Haikou, China for 2-3 months to study Mandarin further, and hopefully do a little sightseeing! When I get back from China, I will be signing up to do night courses of Mandarin at the University of Trinity Saint Davids. Once I get back to my Engineering course, I aim to complete a final year project based on using sensors to monitor plant conditions, and then move on to a master’s course in Electronic Engineering.
All of what I have accomplished, all of the opportunities available to me and almost everything I am now, I owe it all to my BTEC, for taking a chance on a boy from a building site.