Frank Cowell

Frank Cowell

Frank Cowell

Course studied
Construction & the Built Environment HNC

I got into Construction when I left school, although it wasn’t my first choice of career, I wanted to be a Stockbroker. My dad worked in Construction and wanted me to do something which was hands on. I got a B+ in Design and Technology at school and my teacher told me about an apprenticeship opportunity. I went for it and that’s how it all began.

I completed my apprenticeship and worked my way through the ranks in the industry with various companies. My employer at the time offered the workforce the opportunity to study an Open University course in Construction, funded by them. Just before we started we were told the funding was no longer available so we couldn’t do it which was really disappointing. I wanted to do something, so I went online and searched for Construction courses, which is how I found the course at the College. I signed up straight away and it turns out to be the best decision I made.

Doing my FDSC at the College gave me the best of both worlds – I could study while working, so I was getting experience on two fronts. Some people questioned why I returned to education when I was already working in the industry, but I knew there was always scope to learn more. I graduated this year with a first overall and gained a first in every module I studied. I am now at the University of East London studying Construction Management (BSC Hons). From there I want to do my masters.

Although I had already been working in the industry, the FDSC was the seed which is allowing me to further my career. It’s what has led me to do my degree, which, hopefully, which will lead to my masters. At the moment I’m a Construction Manager and have been involved with various projects – the biggest being a £75m school refurbishment. The biggest project I’ve managed is a £1.25m refurbishment project.
The course itself was fantastic and my lecturers superb. Even though I’ve left, I’ve stayed in contact with them and they’re really supportive which is nice. The best thing about studying again is the fact you get to meet likeminded people with a similar passion. A lot of us have stayed in construction which is great, because I’ve managed to build up my contacts too, so I know who I can turn to if I need someone to work on a specific aspect of a project.

I can honestly say that I would not be in the position I’m in now had it not been for the FDSC. It has been the springboard for me to do my degree. I’m a little glad that the Open University course didn’t happen as I doubt I’d be where I am now had I studied that rather than my FDSC. I would say to anyone who wants to further their career to go back to education, there is always something new to learn. I may be older than most people who study – I’m 34 – but it just proves you’re never too old to learn and better yourself.