From education to employment

Which Degrees Can Help You Progress in Your Hands-On Career

Higher education is becoming increasingly popular. So far in 2022, 320,000 sixth form students have already applied for university courses starting in September. This is 14,000 more than the previous year and 50,000 more than 2019. But does the rising number of applicants suggest a university education is essential?

You can, of course, have a successful career with or without higher education. You might find that a degree will help you progress in your chosen field though. This includes hands-on careers, such as mechanical engineering and construction management.

Here, we will explore the ways that higher education can help you achieve your career goals.

Mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers are inventors. They design and build innovative machines, from electric generators to gas turbines and even elevators. If you’re interested in the inner workings of machinery and enjoy problem solving, this could be the career for you.

There are multiple routes into engineering. Depending on the role you aspire to have, you can succeed in the sector without completing a university degree. If you gain relevant experience and prove your willingness to learn on the job, there is no reason why you can’t work in this sector.

On the other hand, some employers may require you to have a higher education. A mechanical engineering course will fortify you with expert knowledge to excel in this career, whether you’re learning how to use a 3D printer or exploring the laws of thermodynamics.


Paramedics deliver life-saving care to patients. They work alongside emergency care assistants, who are responsible for controlling severe bleeding, treating someone with broken or fractured bones, and much more.  These roles are great for quick thinkers that work well under pressure.

Other than passing a literacy and numeracy test, there are no entry requirements to become an emergency care assistant. If you’re eager to help those around you, this role allows you to learn and succeed from your own hands-on experience.

In order to progress from an emergency care assistant to a paramedic, however, you will need to complete a higher education qualification. This can be a university degree (BA Paramedic Sciences) or an apprenticeship degree, depending on your preferences.

Construction manager

No two days are the same for a construction labourer. During a typical working day, you might operate heavy machinery, work on a scaffolding, and build a brick wall. This role can also be social, building relationships with those around you.

There is no right way into construction. There are BTEC qualifications that prepare you with all of the necessary skills to succeed as a labourer. As well as this, you can undergo an apprenticeship programme or start from lower-level positions and learn on the job.

In order to progress in this role, you may need to complete a university degree. Construction managers oversee the building site. Therefore, higher education may prepare you for a number of responsibilities, from managing staff to reviewing architectural and engineering plans.

University can be for everyone. It doesn’t matter which stage of your life you are at, higher education could help you achieve your career goals. Do you think this can help you with your hands-on job?

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