Seventeen-year-old Michael Surgeon from Mayfield, Edinburgh dreams of eventually going on to a career developing crafts for space exploration once he has finished his studies. We spoke to the Software Development Foundation Apprentice after he won Information Technology Foundation Apprentice of the Year at the College’s Prize Giving ceremony earlier this month.
How do you feel about being recognised at Prize Giving?
I feel really proud as I have put a lot of effort into the past year of my studies, especially my final project. To get recognised for the hard work helps me stay motivated and makes me feel privileged.
What made you choose Edinburgh College for your studies?
I picked Edinburgh College after receiving advice from my family who urged me to take the opportunity as it would boost my software career in the future and create multiple path ways at the end of the course. It has paid off as I have currently got a conditional offer for the HNC Software Development course starting in August.
What were you doing before starting at the College?
I was completing my fourth-year exams at high school when my computing teacher asked me if I would like to try the Foundation Apprenticeship course.
What has been the best thing so far about studying at Edinburgh College? Any highlights?
The best thing about College is my lecturers and classmates – it’s been a good laugh and we all get on. It’s not like a school environment, we are treated like adults instead of children which I think has really boosted my learning this year.
Have you faced any challenges, either before starting or during your studies? How did you overcome them?
There have been a few challenges this year, but they have been very healthy challenges. In terms of overcoming them, it was just down to studying more and learning more. The biggest challenge I faced during my time on the course would have to be my placement as I found it rather hard to learn everything I wanted to learn, the way I overcame this was by meeting a great guy called Calum who worked at Zonal during the time I was there, he was a great mentor and motivator. Calum taught me a lot not only to do with working in the real world but just with life in general, he taught me nothing is impossible and that hard work always pays off.
If you could give one piece of advice to a student starting at the College now, what would it be?
The advice I would give a student just starting out is to always stay motivated and stay on track and go that extra mile no matter what you are doing, its all well and good learning what the lectures tell you, but always do your own research and stay true to yourself to make yourself even better so you are well prepared for the future.
What are your plans for the future? Are you going on to further study after College or into employment? What is your end goal?
I want to continue on and do the HNC in Software Development and after the two years either go to university or look for an apprenticeship. My end goal is to own my own company that develops space exploration crafts such as rockets, rovers etc. as I’ve always been fascinated by space.
Do you have any messages for the lecturers?
To all my lectures I can only say thank you for what they have done for me. George Mason has been there through the whole course with me and has by far helped me the most when it has come to this course. He has always been there when I’ve needed him and I owe a lot of credit to him for the for the success I’ve had this year.
Jorge Correia has helped me when it has come to being there for my programming project, if I’ve been struggling, he has always pointed me in the correct way and has helped me a lot. He has always supported me to try different things and go out my comfort zone with programming.
I never worked with Tom Bain for very long but for the time that I did he was a very good teacher, he was able to break stuff down and put it to me in a way that made sense by taking the time to show me diagrams etc – he was a real help.
It was a really good laugh learning from Nick Bell, he taught us stuff about game development and programming. Helping him create grab vans has to be some of the funniest times I’ve ever had in a classroom.
Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
I don’t think there is anything I would do differently I really enjoyed myself at College and it’s been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had while learning so I wouldn’t do anything different.
What are you most proud of that you have achieved while studying at Edinburgh College?
The thing I’m most proud of is probably achieving this IT Student of the Year award, as it shows that all my hard work has paid off and that I am heading in the right direction.
Describe your Edinburgh College experience in three words.
Amazing, funny and impactful.