GRADUATE CELEBRATION WEEK 2021 – JUNE 21-25

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BUILT FOR SUCCESS

Did you receive the happy news in April that you’ve completed your degree with us? If so, our June Graduate Celebration Week was for you!

From Monday, June 21 to Friday, June 25, we shared your stories of success on our social media channels and here, on our bespoke Graduate Celebration Week webpage.

Each one of you should be incredibly proud of your achievement, particularly over the past year with the additional challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our next Graduate Celebration Week will be held in December for those who receive their results later in the year.

#UCEMGraduateCelebration #BuiltForSuccess

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UCEM GRADUATE CELEBRATION WEEK 2021 PLAYLIST

What songs kept you going through your studies? Is there a particular song you play for celebrations? Let us know the songs which mean something to you and we will add them to the UCEM Graduate Celebration Week 2021 playlist! Simply email press@ucem.ac.uk with your song choices to be included on the Spotify playlist made up of songs purely selected by the class of 2021 (plus one or two selected by the team here)!

Here’s what we have so far:

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OUR GRADUATES

This is your section! Here are your reflections.

Aaran Vince

MSc Construction Management

Aaran Vince“I completed my MSc Construction Management course in February 2021, following a hard but very rewarding two years dedicated to my studies. I completed my studies alongside working my full-time job, which was extremely beneficial as I was able to take my learning experience out on to site for my day to day tasks at work. Further to this, I was also able to take my work experience and knowledge gained while working alongside my studies with my coursework and examinations; being able to draw on personal experiences and knowledge obtained while at work helped me achieve higher-than-anticipated results.

“The varied modules provided by UCEM allow me to have a more rounded knowledge of how to be a manager in the construction industry; if you get this opportunity to study with UCEM, you really should take it!”

Monica Dhoro

MSc Real Estate

Monica Dhoro“My tenure of studying at UCEM has been enriching and challenging at the same time. Trying to find a balance between work, family, and studying has been the most difficult part for me. The study material covered in this course has been very helpful in changing my understanding and my perspectives on the built environment.

“The major highlight of my learning was the issue of sustainability and affordable housing. I learned about the use of sustainable material that is cheap, affordable, and readily available to address the issue of affordable housing.  As an example, the use of interlocking bricks and innovative materials such as cross-laminated timber for roofing, which is environmentally friendly.

“Solar systems are the future in green buildings, promoting the use of natural energy which is readily available in Zimbabwe, and water harvesting needs to be promoted as a way of conserving water.

“Moving forward, I am going to lobby the government to reduce import duties and taxes to allow investors to come and set up solar manufacturing plants in Zimbabwe to allow more people to have access to solar at an affordable price, thereby reducing the energy bill of the country.

“Thank you UCEM for an amazing job and what you continue to do in moulding champions.”

Richard Hoyte

MSc Quantity Surveying

Richard Hoyte“My time at UCEM was an experience I would trade for nothing. UCEM brought reality to the experience of studying virtually, especially in a time when virtual learning became the norm.

“Of course, at times, it became challenging and doubts arose, but my trust in Jehovah God and support from my family gave me that extra strength required for my success.

“The knowledge and experience gained, the relationships formed and the esteemed qualifications gained will forever be treasured.”

 

Yonah Were Wamboga

MBA Construction and Real Estate

Yonah Were Wamboga“Studying online has not been the easiest, especially when you have a family to take care of, work to do as an entrepreneur and with the pandemic situation making things harder; but nothing good comes easy.

“Completing my studies was a big relief to me as sometimes I felt overwhelmed, but I told myself, I have reasons why I started so I must finish it. In that regard, I must be thankful to my support system, that is God, my wife, children and UCEM staff who have been there with me throughout the journey.

“My children could find me read in the study room and smile as a sign of motivation and a positive element that education is important to me and to everyone. I have graduated in one course, but I would say many have graduated through me as they have grasped a thing or two about never giving up in education, and if you set yourself to do something, you can do it.

“Age is just a number and time waits for no man. If you have that urge, zeal and determination to do something, nothing should stop you.”

Jacquie Watt

BSc (Hons) Real Estate Management

Jacquie Watt“I began studying with UCEM in 2016 after a 17-year break from studying.  To say I was initially daunted by the scale of it would be an understatement, however, the format of the course means that you can just focus on the next assignment and, to some extent, take it at your own pace.

“The support I received over the years has without a doubt helped me achieve my degree; this support was from family and friends, but also fellow students and UCEM staff.

“Some modules I found harder than others, but the encouragement, individual support, passion for the topic and focus that the staff offered has helped me believe in myself and to reach my goal.

“I am proud to be able to say I am a UCEM graduate. This Graduate Celebration Week is a celebration of not only students’ individual achievements but those of all the staff supporting us: thank you.”

Chi Kin Chow

MSc Quantity Surveying

Chi Kin Chow“Studying whilst working full-time at home was tough but rewarding. As a father of a lovely toddler, I am pleased to see the achievement I have finally made over the last two years.

“Online learning enabled me to manage time properly and flexibly, and offered me a broader, global perspective through networking with people around the globe. Adequate guidance and inspiration were consistently given by tutors throughout the studies, helping me to develop critical insights into the subjects.

“Graduation means that I will soon enter a new chapter in my professional life. The knowledge and professional competencies acquired from the programme will definitely assist me to progress to the next achievement – becoming a chartered surveyor.”

Demarr Royal

BSc (Hons) Real Estate Management

Demarr Royal“Before saying what it feels like to complete my studies, I want to share three challenges faced that would later somehow shape my success.

“The first such instance was when I almost quit after seeing my very first set of course grades, but was encouraged by members of my family not to give up.

“I pressed forward but the beginning of my third year almost proved insurmountable, when I almost had to compulsorily sit out a semester.

“If that was not enough, the dreaded coronavirus crept upon us a year later whilst I was recovering from a vehicle accident.

“Both the accident and pandemic were financially burdensome and again I felt like giving up, but being self-willed and guided by the Lord Jesus Christ, I not only completed my studies, but gained a 2:1.

“I was overwhelmed with joy on completing the course. The lecturers were all facilitators of my success, and their efforts have borne at least one successful fruit: mine.”

Zoe Wood

BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying 

Zoe Wood“The four years it has taken me to complete my degree with UCEM has taught me so much about not only quantity surveying, but about myself and what I am able to achieve. I am a stronger and more confident person as a result and have more belief in my abilities.

“I completed my degree whilst working full-time and being a mum to three children, so if I can do it, anyone can! I am truly proud of what I have accomplished and believe I have shown others what can be done if they put their minds to it and have the support of those around them.

“The other students have been fantastic throughout the course and I wish them all the best in their futures.

“UCEM supported me fantastically throughout, particularly when COVID hit and home-working alongside home-schooling became a thing, so I would like to thank the university as well!”

Mohamed Siddeeque

BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying

Mohamed Siddeeque“Completing my BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying degree at UCEM was the most anticipated and happiest part of my life.

“I must appreciate UCEM for its well-established online education system which helped me to study while working as a full-time employee and taking care of the family.

“The final year of study was challenging due to COVID-related restrictions, lockdowns, working from home, etc. Despite all these challenges, it was possible to complete my degree successfully at UCEM with its excellent online programme delivery.

“I must acknowledge that studying with UCEM enhanced my knowledge, skills and career.

“I must thank God first and then my family who supported me well to continue with my studies.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank UCEM, the Principal, the programme leader, the module leaders, the academic support tutors and everyone who worked in the background to deliver the programme successfully.”

James Dillon

MSc Quantity Surveying 

James Dillon“Looking back on my time studying with UCEM, I feel immense pride.

“Working full-time as well as studying was always going to be a challenge, but one that UCEM equipped me with the tools to overcome.

“Despite all of the challenges of the past 18 months, the infrastructure in place at UCEM allowed for an extremely effective pivot to compliment home-working with remote study. This, in such a time of uncertainty, allowed for an element of normality and consistency that was key to the completion of my studies.

“None of this, of course, would have been possible without all of the support from lecturers and tutors throughout, with the guidance of my friends and family and colleagues being truly invaluable.

“The skills acquired through studying with UCEM will prove crucial moving forward in my career as a quantity surveyor.”

Ben Lloyd

MSc Real Estate

Ben Lloyd“Having recently completed my MSc in Real Estate, I couldn’t recommend the course and UCEM highly enough to anyone thinking of applying.

“Studying in my own time alongside the day job, naturally, I was apprehensive about time management over the two-year course; however, the whole programme is designed to be manageable around other commitments and I felt well supported throughout my studies, with valuable resources provided to me including recorded seminars, maintained message boards, structured modules and well-communicated deadlines, with an amount of flexibility built in to allow for when those were simply unachievable.

“To be awarded a distinction at the end of two rewarding years of study was a hugely satisfying achievement.

“With a masters degree behind me, I’ve now got a great grounding and understanding of the real estate industry, and the course has unlocked a host of additional opportunities for me going forward.”

Kaveru Hangue

MSc Real Estate

Kaveru Hangue“To God alone be this glory! I knew postgraduate studies would not be a walk in the park but, my goodness, has it been a journey-and-a-half! The past two years of this course have been the most challenging yet remarkable and rewarding in all my academic life.

“Despite all the headaches and sleepless nights, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything because the knowledge, skills and exposure gained are beyond measure; I got to learn from the very best in the field, creating lasting bonds and connections.

“Special appreciation to my fellow MSc students for their constant help and encouragement throughout this programme and my supervisor, Mr Ndlovu, for having made my research journey a blissful and authentic learning experience. Finally, I am thankful to UCEM’s entire academic support team for their excellent customer care and service delivery.”

Gary Worthington

BSc (Hons) Construction Management

Gary Worthington“Change. Challenge. Collaboration. Celebration. All words that come to mind from my journey in the last five-and-a-half years. As a mature student who had changed careers, the start was both daunting and exciting.

Change? Adjusting my life with great support from family, friends and my employer [Screwfix]. Promotion into a new job role – applying technical and academic skills learnt (critical thinking, communication, evaluation, research etc).

Challenge? Balancing work, family, and study. The late nights powering through on coffee to complete assignments. Completing the crucial last 18 months with results counting towards final classification against the backdrop of the global pandemic.

Collaboration? Feeling connected throughout with webinars and messaging fellow students and tutors. Working on the ‘construction project’ with students in the UK and Zimbabwe remotely.

Celebrations. The mini victories after each module result. Achieving my dissertation. And finally, being awarded a First Class Honours Degree. It makes you feel anything is possible.

“Before starting on the course I had done a few firsts – cycling from London to Paris, running a half marathon and completed a sprint triathlon.  The range of emotions I experienced with those physical challenges also translated into my time studying with UCEM!”

Kirk Norine

MBA Construction and Real Estate

Kirk Norine“My experience at UCEM was intellectually stimulating. As someone who hungers and thirsts for knowledge and intellectual challenge, I was not disappointed.

“I had access to a wealth of knowledge in the form of a global academic community and digital libraries providing access to leading research and innovation in my areas of interest.

“UCEM is a pioneer and leader in online learning. UCEM’s leadership was especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. I experienced no disruption to my studies and UCEM made admirable accommodations for everyone affected by the pandemic.

“Thank you UCEM! You have made my academic journey a delight.”

Nathan Archer

MSc Quantity Surveying

Nathan Archer“The thought of returning to higher education, alongside full-time employment, was met with both excitement and apprehension.

“It has been a challenging two years sacrificing evenings and weekends. I will not miss the late nights with coffee and the following early morning wake up for work (nor will my girlfriend!), but I will miss the learning process, the satisfaction of submitting an assignment, finishing an exam and the anticipation of receiving each result.

“The flexible and supportive nature of UCEM allowed me to fit my learning around my life (as well as a global pandemic) and has built the foundation from which I can progress my career in quantity surveying.

“It is with great pride that I will receive my MSc Quantity Surveying degree certificate, with Distinction, next month, and I look forward to the next challenge.”

Rachel Ernesta

MSc Construction Management

“Deciding to join UCEM to undertake the next step in my educational progression was inevitable. It started quite rocky and I struggled a bit having to juggle between distance learning and working at the
same time, not to mention the challenge of the pandemic that struck the world early 2020.

“I am usually an introvert but I had to quickly learn the importance of two valuable skills which are communication and, of course, to think critically which has been an important theme throughout my studies.

“With numerous prayers and God by my side, the help and support from my family, and now my fiancée, I managed to see the course through and to achieve what I had joined UCEM to achieve.

“I had the chance to learn so much more than I had anticipated and the knowledge gained is priceless.

“I hope I can help transform the construction industry in the small Seychelles as I apply the knowledge gained to my work.”

Niamh Canavan

MSc Real Estate

Niamh Canavan“Choosing to study with UCEM was one of the best decisions I have made.

“Completing my Masters in Real Estate through online learning meant I was able to study while living and working almost 700km from the university.

“The excellent support system provided by UCEM ensured there was always someone on hand to answer any questions I had, whether it was on the group forums or through the live webinars.

“Working full time in the property industry while studying enabled me to put into practice the skills I was learning on a daily basis, meaning I was fully equipped to complete my coursework and assignments.

“Since completing my Masters in 2020 I have enrolled with the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland to complete the Assessment of Professional Competence. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my professional career.”

Alex Trimble

MSc Real Estate

Alex Trimble“When I began the MSc in Real Estate in 2019 I had no idea what two years of study would look and feel like while working full-time.

“I was instantly put at ease by the support staff and module leaders in the first week. The virtual learning environment worked for me as I could only study in the evenings and the weekend. The webinars were recorded on Zoom so I could access them at will.

“With the onset of COVID and everything that entailed, UCEM and the tutors were understanding and ideally set to deal with the fallout. Having an overarching goal to work towards during the last year-and-a-half was (with the power of hindsight) a huge help and thoroughly worthwhile.

“While sometimes a balancing act and challenging, it is incredibly rewarding.”

Bala Kota

MSc Quantity Surveying

Bala Kota“During the past two years, I have learned to effectively utilise my time and balance my professional and personal life.

“Although it was initially difficult to manage family, office and after-hours study, later, with the guidance and support from UCEM’s mentors I could fulfil my dream of obtaining a Master’s degree.

“I would like to extend a special thanks to the course’s overseas student representative, Sridhar Pentapati, for advising on the key features of the VLE and his valuable guidance on module time management. It is a great help to have oversea reps for those who are unfamiliar with the UK curriculum.

“The UCEM e-Library has a vast range of study materials and is easily accessible. For that, I am thankful to [UCEM information governance manager] Lucy Roper for providing 24/7 access to textbooks throughout the programme.

“Thanks also to [former programme leader] Malcolm Kirkpatrick and the tutors for providing excellent study materials on the latest construction technologies. The 3D webinar presentation is easily comprehensible for all education backgrounds.

“I personally learned about MMC, BIM, professional ethics, diversity and inclusivity, sustainability, and the built environment. The MSc boosted my confidence levels and inspired me  to pursue MRICS status. Moreover, I am trying to adopt the study modules in my professional life.

“Thank you once again, and I wish UCEM all the best.”

Rosanna Fung Mui Lau

MSc Real Estate

Rosanna Fung Mui LauI couldn’t believe I managed to complete the MSc Real Estate programme in two years until I received the official result letter and held it firmly in my hand!

I want to thank all my module leaders, tutors, the project supervisor, the e-librarian and the academic support tutors, both in Reading and Hong Kong, respectively, for all their professional, thoughtful and timely support during my complicated study journey which took in the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 and saw me stranded in Japan for almost a year! The introduction of take-home exams and those additional drop-in sessions came as a total relief for me and were life-saving. I am truly thankful for the unique memories and learning experience at UCEM.

 

“I am particularly grateful for all the guidance and constructive feedback from tutors on forums and my assignments. I am also indebted to many of my coursemates for their meaningful discussion on forums and in our private study groups, generous input relating to the assignments, and sharing of personal or work experience in the built environment in different countries. It has all been a massive help and contributed to my success!

 

“Above all these, a big thank goes to UCEM for putting this great programme together in the first place. It was very useful for me to gain a wider academic or theoretical and, at the same time, practical knowledge around some of the issues which I came across in my day-to-day work. I have no doubt the skillsets that I developed and the knowledge that I accumulated over the last two years will have a lasting impact, both from a personal and professional perspectives.

 

“Lastly, I wanted to thank my boss for recommending this programme to me and for giving me the ‘health’ warning in advance about how demanding it was! I am very proud of myself for taking on the challenge. It turned out to be a delight and gaining a Merit was simply beyond my expectations. On top of that, crossing the finish line successfully together with some of my study buddies, the ones who started and struggled together with me from day one two years ago, was an amazing feeling!

 

“Let’s keep in touch and continue to make positive contributions to the industry wherever we are based. May our paths cross again in the future.”

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GET INVOLVED ON SOCIAL!

During Graduate Celebration Week, we posted updates using the hashtag #UCEMGraduateCelebration and we would love for you all to get involved on our TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Instagram channels!