Education & Employment
EDUCATION
 
QUALIFICATION TYPE LEVEL COURSE DURATION
7 CSE's
1 'O' level
CSE
GCE
Various School
Radio/TV & Electronics Mechanics City & Guilds Part III   Credit 3 Years
Radio/TV & Electronics Mechanics
(Additional FM reception & Audio)
City & Guilds Part III   Distinction 1 Year
Radio/TV & Electronics Mechanics
(Additional T/V - colour/monochrome)
City & Guilds Part III   Pass 1 Year
Radio/TV & Electronics Technicians City & Guilds Part III   Distinction 2 Years
Video Recorder Engineering City & Guilds Part III   Distinction 1 Year
Micro Processor Engineering BTEC Level 4   Merit 2 Years
Industrial Electronics HNC - 1 Year (full time)


EMPLOYMENT

DATE NATURE OF WORK  (& COMPANY)
1970 - 1979 Worked as a 'bench' engineer repairing T/V and Audio equipment.
(Specialised in Audio and Hi-Fi repairs) (Philip Cann's - Wigfall's)
1979 - 1985 Worked as a 'bench' engineer repairing T/V and Audio equipment.
(Specialised in T/V repairs) (Wigfall's)
1985 - 1991 Worked as a 'bench' engineer repairing T/V, Audio and VCR equipment.
(Specialised in VCR repairs) (Wigfall's / Serviscope)
1992 - Working at the University of Sheffield -
repairing and upgrading the university's P.C.'s and peripheral equipment.


EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT - IN MY OWN WORDS

I left school with seven CSE's and an 'O' level. The reason for only one 'O' level is nothing to do with my having insufficient intelligence to attain more (I think); rather that there were no GCE examinations held at my school. My art teacher, in his infinite wisdom, deemed that three of us were 'so good' at art that we ought not to miss out on a GCE qualification, and consequently arranged for us to attend another school on the day of the 'art' exam - hence the 'O' level. (You're impressed already - I can tell!).  

My only regret with respect to education is in never attaining a degree, and believe this is largely to do with an initial bad choice of career. In my younger days I had been very fascinated with electronics, and as a result chose a career in the Television Servicing industry. One problem with this trade has been the constantly advancing technology which has resulted in me having to return to college, year after year, in order to keep up with the latest developments. First was the advancement from 'valve' to 'transistor' technology, shortly followed by the development and massive increase in 'integrated circuit' ('silicon chip') usage. Then came the advent of the 'VCR' (Video Cassette Recorder - an area in which I specialised throughout my last years in the trade). This brought with it two new concepts - 'digital electronics' and 'microprocessor controlled' equipment. These concepts gradually intensified and infiltrated into Television and Audio equipment design; the 'Compact Disc' being one example. What I find most annoying is that the total number of hours I have spent, over the years, studying; the quantity of material studied; number of examinations taken with all associated revision work, must surely add up to more than that required for a degree (see table above). Yet the reality is, because they are all related to the same basic subject, seem to add up to little more than the original City & Guilds qualification.

Another problem with the T/V servicing industry has been its constant reduction in size over the years. One reason for this is the increased reliability of Television sets, VCR's etc. - less repairs needed!: another is the fact that they are relatively much cheaper to purchase than they were. I say 'relatively cheaper' because a Television set costs about the same price today as it did twenty-five years ago - a period of time over which the price of almost everything else has increased twenty-fold. People are much more inclined to replace their old equipment with new, resulting in a much reduced need for repairs due to equipment ageing. I have annually seen my colleagues made redundant as the trade has gradually eroded away. It was obvious that my turn would eventually come - and this happened in February 1991 when Serviscope, the company I worked for at that time, went into receivership. The most devastating aspect of it was realising that I had been made redundant from the entire trade - not just that particular 'post', as the trade's constantly shrinking size meant that chances of being re-employed in that field were about zero. I was absolutely lost - repairing this type of equipment is all I had ever done - and all I knew!

Eventually, I saw an advertisement for a one-year full-time HNC course in 'Industrial Electronics' at Rotherham College (the college at which I had attained most of my C&G qualifications). It was described as 'intensive' - being a two-year course rolled into one - it seemed this was the answer to my problem. I was warned before enrolling that it was a very intensive course and would totally dominate my life for that year - they weren't kidding.

As most fields of electronics are now heavily micro-computer orientated a large percentage of the course was computer related. I passed the exams with flying colours, and completed the year by spending a five week 'placement' with Yorkshire Water's Electronic Engineering department - an experience which I enjoyed very much. Before I could find employment in 'industry' I noticed Sheffield University were advertising for a 'Computer Repair Technician'. I knew my new-found computer knowledge would enable me to do this job, and my previous experience as a T/V Engineer meant that repairing computer monitors would be no problem (they are very similar to Television sets). I subsequently started work at the University on 1st. November 1992, my main tasks being to repair and upgrade the University's P.C's, monitors and peripheral equipment.

In 1994 I made a final attempt to obtain a degree, by joining the Open University. My HNC would automatically gain me one credit - but I would still need another five, absorbing most of my spare time for at least a five year period. I am still very keen to study - if it is knowledge I need for my job, or something that I am particularly interested in. However, having reached the age of forty, a time when one starts to feel on the wrong side of life, I decided that I do not, now, want to spend five years of my valuable time studying material that is of little use nor interest to me; consequently, the O.U. course was dropped! 


 Many thanks to the University of Sheffield for hosting my website


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Mick Armitage (e-mail)