From education to employment

Career Experience turned into Professional Recognition Awards at SERC

Two businessmen have turned their extensive career experience into Professional Recognition Awards achieving the equivalent to a vocational masters with a Level 7 City & Guilds Professional Recognition in Construction Building Services Management through South Eastern Regional College’s (SERC) Business Services team. 

Roy Connolly, Managing Director, and Ashley Watson, Contracts & Estimating Director at B.I. Electrical Services (NI) Ltd, part of the Greenview Group, both achieved a Level 6 Professional Recognition in Engineering Management through SERC back in 2017 before progressing to the Level 7.

Two businessmen from B.I. Electrical Services (NI) Ltd, part of the Greenview Group, have turned their extensive career experience into Professional Recognition Awards (PRA) achieving the equivalent to a vocational masters with a Level 7 City & Guilds Professional Recognition Award in Construction Building Services Management through SERC in Northern Ireland. (L-R) Roy Connolly, Managing Director, Barbara Murphy, PRA Consultant at SERC and Ashley Watson, Contracts & Estimating Director.

Roy, from Newtownards, said, “Following the successful completion of my Electrical Apprenticeship with M&S Electrics Ltd, which was a relatively small family owned company, I was offered an opportunity to take up a permanent position as a fully qualified electrician with what has turned out to be my second and only other employer, BI Electrical Services (NI) Ltd, which is testament to an organisation that allows people to grow, develop and progress as the company has evolved.”

“I quickly worked my way up through the company, initially as an electrician carrying out routine maintenance and various Measured Term Contracts, to the stage where I was supervising the associated works. At the age of 24, I was appointed as Junior Contracts Manager, and as time progressed, I secured promotions for various roles taking on added responsibility, developed my IT skills, and continually adapted to ever-changing trade requirements, utilizing my experience and knowledge to ensure contracts are initiated, expedited, and completed to exacting standards. Following the acquisition of the Company by Greenview in November 2017 I was appointed Managing Director.”

“Having gained a Level 6 PRA, I recognised that the Level 7 PRA was the perfect platform to demonstrate the vast knowledge and experience I had gained throughout my career which had led me to head a successful company.”

Speaking about the process for completing the PRA Roy said, “Given my general day to day workload, I found freeing up and dedicating the required time to be the biggest challenge, but once engaged and focused, you manage to draw upon your proven systems and processes allowing you to include as material for evidence in your submission documentation. Initial struggles with the methodology were ironed out with support and assistance from my dedicated PRA Consultant at SERC through scheduled remote meetings and has led to improvement and streamlining of many current processes, thanks to the many additional IT skills gained.”

Roy concluded, “For anyone who has chosen an alternative career route to that of a full-time university option, and who have since gained a wealth of invaluable experience and knowledge through various other practical career paths in any sector, this is the professional qualification for you.”

Ashley, from Ballymoney, said, “I left Dalriada School in 2008 to pursue an electrical apprenticeship with Dowds Group and following successful completion, I joined BI Electrical Services (NI) Ltd in 2014 as a Junior Electrical QS/Estimator. I have progressed within the company over the past 9 years undertaking various roles. This included spending two and a half years at our WOFE subsidiary based in Shanghai where I worked with many large European multinational companies expanding operations in China.”

He added, “Throughout my career I have always placed a high value on education and so continued my studies through an HNC in Construction and the Built Environment, various additional electrical qualifications, and most recently, a Level 6 in Engineering Management and Level 7 PRA in Building Services Management.”

Speaking about the PRA Ashley said, “Most people, like myself, probably don’t realise how much knowledge and experience they have gained throughout their career in the midst of day-to-day operations. Whilst the process of extracting this information can be challenging, the process is guided by a dedicated PRA consultant at SERC, which gives you the opportunity to reflect on previous and current objectives, challenges, and accomplishments in reference to meeting the standards of the qualification.”

“I believe this is a great qualification for anyone what wants to receive academic recognition for their skills and knowledge gained though experience in their respected field. The flexibility around completing the PRA lends itself well to anyone with a busy schedule.”

Barbara Murphy, PRA Consultant in SERC’s Business Services team said, “The Professional Recognition Award (PRA Level 4-7) qualification recognises individuals for their current and/or recent supervisory or management experiences and follows the 6 standards for provision of evidence in a portfolio.  This PRA is particularly beneficial for candidates who may have come to a senior level within an organisation following a practical route rather than an academic route.  The Awards enable candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills within any sector or role.”

She concluded, “Due to their busy roles at BI Electrical, the online delivery proved a great success for Roy and Ashley, and friendly competition ensured portfolio building was enjoyable in achieving the qualification.”

To find out more about Professional Recognition Awards through SERC contact [email protected]

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