Headstart Course at the University of Cardiff by Teniola Oriola
I had the opportunity to be selected to attend a Headstart Broad-Based Engineering Course at the University of Cardiff. I found it exciting, as it is a prestigious programme with over 1100 applicants. Overall there were 500 places spread across different universities, with 50 places available at Cardiff.
The experience was valuable as I was exposed to all the different fields of engineering, such as mechanical, civil, electrical and medical. This provided me with a taster of the different fields and also allowed me to demonstrate my teamwork and leadership skills, as I was selected to lead my team in building a mini-golf course. I was able to apply the skills gained during my Physics lessons and what I was taught by my Physics teachers at MSJ to the development phase of the mini golf course, which included designing a blueprint and developing it accordingly. This project enhanced my understanding of the multifaceted nature of engineering and was proof that this field of study transcends all ethnic, cultural and religious boundaries.
The support system put in place was effective because there was advice available for prospective university applicants such as tips on writing a personal statement and the UCAS process. Listening to lectures delivered by the academics and being surrounded by a team of determined women inspired me to debunk the gender myths in the engineering profession. I strongly recommend Year 12s to apply to this course as it is well respected and recognised by educational institutions and can help your application stand out. If you apply for a Broad-Based Programme, you can develop an understanding of the specialised area of engineering you are most inclined to study. The Headstart Course also helped me during my work experience at EAN Aviation, a private jet centre and maintenance facility in Lagos, Nigeria because I had acquired employability skills like organisation and problem solving. I was also able to apply the teamwork skills to my new environment, which made my work experience even more worthwhile.