Renewable Energy case study

Freeman Thondhlana - FdEng Renewable Energy Technologies

Why did you choose to study at Newcastle College?

I had a particular interest in renewables and attended an Open Day at Newcastle College. Once I spoke to the tutors I knew that I wanted to study here, they were really helpful in helping me identify the right course for me. They explained that they were introducing a new Foundation Degree in renewables and it was perfect for my career aspirations. In order to progress onto the course I studied a one-year access course at the college which gave me the qualifications to be able to begin the course.

Have you had the opportunity to go on a work placement as part of your course?

Currently I am contacting employers with the hope of securing a work placement. I would advise anyone to be pro-active when it comes to contacting employers. I hope to take up a voluntary placement where I can learn practical skills in a real business environment. This will help me when it comes to my final assignments as I’ll be able to apply theory to a real working environment.

Describe your typical week whilst studying towards your Foundation Degree?

Whilst on my Foundation Degree I was based at the Energy Academy, which is the college’s new facility in Wallsend. The academy is excellent for practising our skills and gives us the chance to work on wind turbines, testing the theory we’ve learnt. We’ve been able to learn about the impact of wind turbine angles and take part in turbine tests all on site.

We are in taught lessons two days a week and there’s also a focus of independent study so I’m usually studying 4-5 days a week working towards my assignments.

What do you enjoy most about your course?

The course is very topical and relevant to the industry. The modules which you learn are really interesting and it helps our learning due to the fact we can practise what we’ve learnt in the Energy Academy itself. The course has really lived up to its expectations.

What plans do you have once you complete your degree?

I’m currently working towards my BSc (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering Top-Up degree which will develop my skills even further within the engineering sector. One I graduate I hope to gain 4-5 years experience of working within the renewables sector. I then hope to take this knowledge and skills I’ve developed back home to Zimbabwe where I can help develop renewable energy technologies.