The BEngTech: Doing real world things


Ashley did well at school and knew he wanted to get into a career that was real and practical. Engineering became the obvious goal - but what wasn’t so obvious was the pathway. Now in his third year of the BEngTech, Ashley says that WelTec may not have been his first choice, but was certainly his best.

“Don’t underestimate the qualification because it’s at WelTec.” That’s Ashley Archibald’s advice to anyone thinking about engineering as a study option.

Ashley did well at school and knew he wanted to get into a career that was real and practical. He was good at maths and physics – and with some guidance from an uncle, who just happened to be a careers advisor - engineering became the obvious goal. What wasn’t so obvious, in hindsight, was the pathway.

Straight from school Ashley enrolled in a Bachelor of Engineering programme at university, choosing to major in mechatronics. But within a few short weeks it became clear that this wasn’t going to work for him. “I just didn’t like being stuck in a room with five hundred other students,” Ashley recalls. “I wanted to ask the teachers a couple of questions” - but the teaching style and format just didn’t allow for this sort of interaction.

Sitting at home on the couch was never going to be an option for Ashley as far as his parents were concerned, so he started looking at other options. He was somewhat surprised to find that WelTec offered the Bachelor of Engineering Technology qualification (BEngTech), a three year degree programme, and he could still focus on mechatronics.

Now in his third year, Ashley says that polytech may not have been his first choice, but was certainly his best. The smaller class sizes, close friendships and being able to “do real world things” are just some of the benefits of the BEngTech.

It’s a good course for people who are interested in how things work. “We spent a couple of days in the classroom looking at these ‘step-response graphs’ for a DC motor. The next day we were in the workshop with an actual DC motor, and it all made sense. All the classroom theory fell into place.”

Now just a couple of months away from finishing his qualification, Ashley has a bright future and career ahead of him. He’s secured a full-time contract at KiwiRail, where he’s also been doing some work over his holiday breaks. And he reckons his boss sees no real difference between his degree and the university one: “It’s still an engineering degree”.

If you would like to know more, please contact us on Our thanks to Ashley for his time and advice.

October 2014

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