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The experiential route to engineering

February 10, 2022

An alternative option for those seeking to achieve chartered engineer status

Choosing a career is a big decision. However, once you’ve made your choice, choosing how to become qualified can be an even bigger one. With a variety of routes and courses available to those who choose engineering, which is the right one?

Associate engineer, Scott Nicholson, chose the experiential learning route to reach his career goals. He has recently become the first person in Stantec UK to achieve chartered engineer (CEng) status with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) via this route.

The experiential learning route enables the individual to use the knowledge gained at work to bridge the gap between the qualifications they have and those needed to fulfil the academic requirements for chartered membership with the ICE. After demonstrating his experience through an assessment form, supporting material, presentation, written exercise and interview, Scott was notified by the ICE professional review panel that they had recommended he be admitted as a member of the institution and a chartered civil engineer.

Scott commented: “My grandfather was an engineer; he was incredibly passionate and dedicated to his work and chose not to retire until he was 78. He was a great role model. I decided I wanted to become an engineer in secondary school and have focused on this ever since. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved and I’m grateful to Stantec for supporting me on my journey. The experiential learning route has been the ideal career path for me.”

Getting the right support

Scott joined Stantec in November 2005 as a trainee technician and has progressed to an engineering role, currently working as an associate engineer within our navigation team in Reading. He has amassed over 15 years of experience working on a variety of navigation projects including designing multiple lock gates on the River Thames, delivering river restoration projects, as well as undertaking condition inspections.

Scott studied civil engineering part time over several years and was fully supported and funded by Stantec. He gained his national certificate and higher national certificate from Thames Valley University and bachelor’s of engineering in civil engineering from Kingston University. After finishing his degree, Scott made use of a fast-track scheme within Stantec to become a chartered technician (EngTech). He then discovered the ICE Experiential Learning Route and felt it was a great opportunity to document his on-the-job learning and demonstrate that he met the requirements to become a chartered engineer.

“After deciding not to stay on at school, I was confident I would be able to find a suitable apprenticeship and gain a qualification directly related to my career path. I was motivated by the ability to earn and attend college or university on day release,” said Scott.

“Achieving chartership is a rollercoaster with waves of motivation and progress. A significant prompt was when I found out a good friend from another office was the first person internally to have their experiential application accepted. Shamefully, this was the competition I needed for the race to chartership. Hard work is a major requirement, and you have to be good at managing your workload and time to maintain a work/life balance, but with the right support anything is possible.”

Achieving your goals

Everyone achieves their career goals in the way that is right for them. The experiential learning route is yet another option for engineers who want to become CEng member of the ICE (MICE) and can demonstrate their master’s level of understanding through on-the-job training to upgrade existing bachelor’s academic qualifications.

Stantec is committed to supporting individuals as they pursue their chosen career path. Gill Blandin-Ellis, HR Director, UK & Ireland commented: “We’re passionate about helping our people be the best they can be. We’ve developed a comprehensive learning and development programme to ensure Stantec is a place where the best and brightest come to build on each other’s talents, do exciting work, and create positive impacts on our communities. We work with them to map their career path and support them in their choices. Through encouragement and hard work any goal is within reach and Scott has demonstrated this. We’re incredibly proud of his achievement and look forward to supporting him as he progresses yet further in his career.”

“I would 100% recommend this route to others thinking of becoming an engineer,” said Scott. “I was motivated by the ability to earn and learn on day release, but while on the course it became clear that having unlimited access to engineering specialists was a great help and gave me additional support when completing my studies. Graduating was a huge personal achievement but doing so without any student debt felt even better. The chartership feels like a trusted seal of approval. My achievements are testament to the support of my family, my team, and other colleagues within Stantec. I will always be grateful for the encouragement and motivation they have given me.”

Find out more about the opportunities Stantec can provide to develop your career. 

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