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Student success; Excellence is on show at awards night.

TEESSIDE engineering stars have been rewarded for student excellence at a prestigious industry dinner.

Steven Ackerley, 22, from Skelton, and Shaun McNulty, 40, of Tollesby, each picked up a cheque for pounds 250 at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Teesside Network dinner.

The IET's Local Network Prize for student excellence offers higher or further education establishments the opportunity to nominate one outstanding student from a course that falls within its engineering and technical interests, but is not accredited by the IET.

Shaun McNulty won one of three IET awards during a four-year Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) Electrical and Electronic degree course at Teesside University.

Shaun was commended by Dr Ian French, a lecturer on the course, for achieving a first class honours degree "against a background of work and family commitments".

Throughout his studies, he held down a full-time job at Corus and supported his wife, Jill, a district nurse, and their two boys.

He is due to graduate this month after completing the course through his employer.

"Because there is a lack of engineers coming through, Corus decided to advertise an opportunity to go on a degree course, so as well as taking on new graduates, they were seeing if people already employed at Corus would be interested in doing a degree," said Shaun.

"My manager backed me and I had to study on day release every week for four years."

Winning the award has proved to be the icing on the cake for Shaun, whose career has progressed since completing the degree with promotion to electrical and process manager at Corus.

Steven Ackerley, who works at R Blackett and Charlton, also received an award for student excellence after attending Hartlepool College of Further Education as part of a partnership with NETA training to complete a National Certificate in Manufacturing Engineering.

He progressed to the HNC in Manufacturing Engineering before graduating last year with a distinction or merit in all his subjects.

Steven Wallis, head of division at the college, said: "Steven Ackerly has simply proved to be an excellent all-round student.

"His attitude, attendance, attainment and ability have made Steven a highly popular student and several members of the faculty enthusiastically supported his nomination."

His HNC Engineering Project involved the design and development of a device that could be used at height to align a four-belt fin fan safely.

The project was the unanimous winner as part of the college's Skills Showcase Project Presentation Day with judges from Corus, Huntsman, Baker Petrolite, Stadium group, Gus Robinson and British Energy.

Steven is now in his second year at Teesside University, where he is taking his HNC up to degree level with the support of R Blackett and Charlton.

Steven said: "I've always liked technical-based subjects and a lot of my family have gone into engineering, so it is a natural progression for me."

He added: "What I like about my job is that you are not stuck behind a desk, you are out and about. And the pay is not bad."

Mark Boyes, a student at Stockton Riverside College, was also recognised for achieving distinctions in all his assignments and most of his exams on the City and Guilds 2330 certificate in Electrotechnical Technology.

He also undertook a successful work placement at Banner Electrical, where he was offered a permanent role at the company.


DEGREE: Jill Gibson, junior vice chairman of the IET presents Shaun McNulty with his award; PROJECT WINNER: Jill Gibson presents Steven Ackerley with his award
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 14, 2007
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