Posted Sunday 19 August 2012
After six years in the British Army, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan, Etienne Le Roux realised the military was not where he saw himself long term. Still wanting to use the engineering and construction skills he had accumulated during his time as a land surveyor in the Royal Engineers, Etienne decided a career in building surveying beckoned.
With the recession biting and the construction industry being particularly hard hit, however, the 29 year old struggled to get work experience. "Companies just didn't seem to be taking anyone on and I was starting to feel despondent," Etienne, who is originally from South Africa, recalled. "One day, though, I got chatting to a friend who had returned to education as a mature student and it struck me doing something similar might be the way to move things forward."
Since his last minute decision to enter higher education meant he had missed the normal application round, Etienne started researching courses available in Clearing. He soon hit on the building surveying degree at Kingston University. "It sounded ideal, so I quickly contacted the University's Clearing hotline and spoke to one of the course tutors who was really positive about me returning to education," he said. "I live quite close by in Woking so decided to visit the campus and have a look around. As soon as I saw the facilities available and had chatted to people on the course, I knew it was right for me. I applied and was offered a place on the same day."
Etienne secured one of the last few spots available and started his studies just three weeks later. "What really appealed to me about the Kingston University degree was its strong links to business and industry," he said. "Working closely alongside such prestigious organisations bridges the gap between studying and employment. The advice I've received from the contacts I've made so far has been invaluable."
Having successfully completed the first year of his degree, Etienne has already had the opportunity to work with leading chartered surveyors and property consultants Sanderson Weatherall. "I didn't expect to get any work experience under my belt so early on, but the support I've had has been fantastic," he said. "The team at Kingston University always goes the extra mile and I learned so much while I was on the placement."
Etienne couldn't be happier with his decision to hang up his army boots to go back to the books. "It felt like a huge step because I never imagined I would come out of the Army and return to education," he admitted. "Applying so late, I didn't think there was any way I would find a place on such a great course. Clearing gave me a chance at a second career and now I can't imagine doing anything else."