Flexibility is the key to upskilling in ever-changing Engineering industry


Studying Mechanical Engineering opens up a world of possibilities and often leads to lucrative job offers in a wide range of different sectors with the potential to work in some far-removed locations and many opt for this particular career path.

But at a time when technology is constantly evolving and organisations continue to rely on workers to be at the other end of a phone call and on to a chopper within minutes, how do we make sure the engineering workforce continues to consolidate its learning, remaining trained to the demands of the sector?

To support students who may already be working in the industry, often in remote environments, Edinburgh College now offers an Enhanced Distance Learning course in HNC Mechanical Engineering. The course, the only one of its kind in Scotland, is delivered online using Desktop Sharing Technology, allowing effective two-way communication between students and teaching staff.

How does it work?

  • Students study 12 units throughout the two year course, six per academic year.
  • Lectures are delivered twice per week, usually in the evening.
  • Students log into a two-way Desktop Sharing Technology system provided by the College which allows conversation between the entire student group and lecturer, so sessions are fully live and interactive.
  • The technology allows the students to view the lecturer’s desktop in real time so lessons can be carried out using a wide range of resources and techniques. The whiteboard feature is the main delivery method but support materials, tutorials, web resources are also utilised.
  • Each teaching session is live recorded in full HD.

What are the benefits?

  • Students can attend class from anywhere with a good internet connection – at home, work, abroad, anywhere. Currently the College has students enrolled from all across Scotland who work in remote environments including offshore oil and gas platforms.
  • Students can interrupt the class at any time to ask questions or to look for clarification on a particular point the lecturer or another student may have made.
  • If a student can’t make the class due to work, family or other commitments, they can watch live recordings of the class, ensuring they don’t fall behind.
  • The design of the course allows those already working to study around their work, or for those who have full time family commitments to study from home or any other location.

Student feedback so far

To date, feedback from current students has been positive:

Sean Wall, who works as a maintenance team leader said: “I think the interactive element of the course is the best aspect, where you can show us on the screen how to do the work. I also like the fact that if you miss a class, which I did at the start, then you can catch up in your own time [using the recordings] and don’t miss out. I can’t think of any improvements I would make on the course to be honest.”

Chris Kerr, who is a mechanical engineer said: “For me the course is going well.  The technology is brilliant.  Running the course as you are is great for people like me working full-time without the option of day release.  It enables me to gain a qualification to accompany my experience without any inconvenience to my employer.”

How to apply

For more information and to apply visit the HNC Mechanical Engineering (Enhanced Distance Learning) course page or press the image below.