Hartlepool College invited former Engineering student, Adrian Coles back to College and in the classroom this week to deliver a master class in engineering. Adrian is a shining example of how determination and hard work can transform one's life, and he is eager to share his experiences with the next generation of engineers. Adrian passed on his experiences from the path he has taken to transforming his own life since leaving school 15 years ago.
The 31-year-old, who is looking to boost regeneration across Teesside with the Millet Property Investing company he co-owns, has excelled in his studies and is on course to graduate with MSc in Project Management this year.
It has been an incredible rise for someone unable to gain the GCSE grades he had been expected to as a top-set mathematics and science pupil at secondary school. Adrian said: "After leaving school without any GCSEs because I wasn't focused enough, I didn't know what I was going to do. The subjects I was good at naturally steered me towards engineering. When I was at school nothing made sense, but I came to College, and it clicked for me. I could apply my maths and science knowledge in a direction I wanted to head career-wise. I like coming back here to College, I have so many happy memories."
After leaving Brierton Comprehensive in 2008, Adrian embraced the BTEC Level 1 in Engineering which gave him the key introductory skills to get started. He was identified as a student capable of high achievement. After claiming the College's student of the year award at the end of Level 2, he moved on to Level 3, where he also claimed apprentice of the year and secured an apprenticeship at Cummins, Darlington, in 2010. During 12 years with Cummins, a global power and technology leader, he kept studying, securing an HNC, HND and BEng Tech all in Mechanical Engineering along the way. He will complete the set with the master’s degree later this year.
Adrian, a former student ambassador too, said: "I have been involved in high-value projects on a global scale and worked with multiple external organisations including the MoD and Warwick University (WMG). I recognise what I have done – it took a long time to get there. I'm using that and my experiences as motivation to achieve more. I have always had links to the College and stayed in touch. One of my former classmates is Ben Glaister-Smith, a lecturer here, we did our Level 3 together. I have regularly done career events, and open events, at Cummins we got involved in the community and STEM-related activities/events. Giving something back is quite rewarding, it gives you validation for what you achieved in your career as well. I can remember being in the student's position, it's nice to be able to provide some value to them and if that inspires one student it has been worthwhile for me."
Adrian has spoken to Level 2 BTEC and Level 4 HNC students so far. Professional behaviour in the workplace, ethics and core values in a corporate environment have been covered, as well as exploring critical path analysis and software tools he has used to his advantage.
He has also touched on Millet Property Investing, a company he has named after his daughters Mila and Lettie. The aim is to regenerate as many run-down properties on Teesside as possible, using his experience in project management and connections in the region.
Adrian has a great story to tell our current students during his master classes, arranged by Mark Elliott, the Deputy Head of our School of Engineering who said: "Adrian was a model student here at the college. He achieved the highest grades possible and had a 97 per cent attendance average while he was here. He has always maintained a determined and disciplined work ethic. Now he is a poacher turned gamekeeper, delivering master classes from industry to our students. Adrian is not only a great engineer, he is a true inspiration for our students, giving not only industry insights but how to get where you want if you want it hard enough."He epitomises Hard-work, Ambition, Resilience, being Thankful and Respectful (HARTS, at College) and he is self-aware. He always makes time for us and we welcome him here now as an industry specialist."