Image of Keith in front of the VG &M

Meet Keith, one of our mature undergraduate students, who joined us after completing a foundation year at Carmel College.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Hi, I'm Keith and I’m 27, married and originally from Wallasey. I got my GCSES and A-levels at St Mary’s catholic college in Wallasey village, and then completed a foundation course at the city of Liverpool college in 2013. Since then, I was working, starting in a call centre and then I did 5 years at Asda.

What do you study?

I am in my first year of a BEng in Computer science and Electronic Engineering which included a foundation year at Carmel College.

Did you always have an interest in STEM/ EEE or what inspired you?

I have always had an interest and love of science and technology for as long as I can remember, which seemed to start at 6 months old with my dad and his friend had a pc in bits around me continuing on with a passion for science fiction and then my own love of gadgets and technology.

What made you choose your course at Uni of Liverpool?

I had a choice between computer science or the joint degree im doing now.  I chose the joint because I have an interest in soaking up as much knowledge about a field as I can, I love the idea of starting a project from a hardware perspective and continuing to be part of that same project when it goes into its software phase.

How do you find being a mature student?

I feel old haha, even though I’m only 27 knowing that the second years are for example younger than the first Shrek film has made me feel like I’ve added years onto my life, but on another note I’m glad I’m going to university now, because when I was younger I didn’t have the drive or the motivation to do the work, I wont lie, I still struggle with the same issues but I’m in a better place than where I was and working better than I ever had before.

What does your course entail?

From the electronics side, I explore the theory of electrical and electronic circuits, explore the maths skills needed for electrical engineers, and I get to participate in labs, building circuits and making measurements. Currently I only have one computer science module which is an introduction to programming which uses the python language.

What are the best things about your course?

At first, I would have just said the labs and programming but as the weeks have gone on, learning ways to analyse circuits have been at times quite fun as it’s a puzzle that’s needs solving and its quite satisfying to solve.

How has the University of Liverpool/Department of EEE helped you?

For me personally having a foundation programme that led me to pursuing electronic engineering as well as computer science has been the biggest help from the university/dept, I’m now in a place sitting alongside 18 year olds who have gone the traditional route and am able to do this course without the standard qualifications.

What do you think about Electrical Engineering and Electronics and its importance in society?

Society today is determined by advances in electrical and electronic engineering, after all I’m typing this on a computer, in a room with a smart speaker and smart lighting. Where society is getting ‘smarter’ with its use of technology and devices such as 3d printers coming to the home allowing any user to make whatever they want, electrical and electronic engineering are at the heart of this and more.

What do you get up to outside of studying?

Outside of studying I’m a member of a few societies, most notably, the gaming society, coding and robotics society, scouser space society and the mature student’s society. I’m an avid gamer and enjoy watching tv and film when I get the chance to of course and I have a part time job at the guild shop.

What are your future plans?

Hopefully once I graduate, I’ll likely move as my wife has her own aspirations for university. From there I may pursue a Masters or PhD, I’m letting my time at the university to help inspire what I’d like to pursue next in my education and career.


Nadia image

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi! My name is Nadia Ismail, an avid musician, linguist and aircraft enthusiast from Birmingham, England. I have been fascinated by aircraft since about the age of 13, and I was one of the lucky few people who have known what they have wanted to do from a young age. In Sixth Form, I conducted an Extended Project Qualification on the Conspiracies Surrounding the Disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370, consequently receiving the EPQ award at my school. This subsequently solidified my interest in the investigation of air catastrophes, and encouraged me to build my knowledge more in terms of the intricacies of modern air technology.

Why did you choose to study at Liverpool?

In 2017 I began my studies at the University of Liverpool in Avionic Systems with Pilot Studies, Bachelor of Engineering. I chose Liverpool for a number of reasons, the main two surrounding the university and the city itself. The University of Liverpool has such a rich history, it being one of the six original "red brick" civic universities. The status Liverpool has of a ‘Russell Group University’ only attracted me further to the academic excellence I have always strived for, with a commitment to a high standard of teaching and research. My course itself was actually the only course in the United Kingdom of its kind, that taught Pilot Studies alongside Avionic Systems. I specifically wanted to study Avionic Systems as opposed to Aerospace Engineering due to the fact modern aircraft rely so much more now on the sophisticated electronics than they have ever done before, and when sitting in the cockpit of such an advanced vehicle, knowing how the displays worked was just as important to me as knowing how to operate them. Studying Pilot Studies was always essential for me, and Liverpool’s flight training partners based at Liverpool John Lennon Airport were one of the best I had looked into. 

When first visiting Liverpool, I felt an overwhelming sense of homeliness. I don’t think you can ask for anymore than that from a new city! Being from a city myself, this didn’t feel too far from my version of normal back in Birmingham, apart from in Liverpool, everything was so much closer together! The University being a mere 10 minute walk away from the city centre, not to mention how rich the shopping centre was. You’re never too far away from music either, whether that be live music in the city centre, or music history.

What does your course entail?

Avionic Systems is the study of the communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems, and the hundreds of systems that are fitted in aircraft to perform individual functions. During the three years of the course, avionics covered everything, from the internal sensors and control systems within an aircraft; from airborne communication and navigation systems to ‘stealth’ aircraft design and flight control systems. Naturally, due to being in the School of Electrical Engineering and Electronics, we also studied alongside the mainstream Electrical Engineering Students to gain a broader learning experience about vital electrical modules such as programming in C and electronic circuits and systems. 

In the Pilot Studies component of the course, we would fly about once a week with the Liverpool Flying School at Liverpool John Lennon Airport in our first year of studying, as well as having modules specifically tailored around learning content that you would typically learn at a pilot school, essentially giving you a head start if you ever chose to go to pilot school in the future.

What is the best thing about your course?

In the duration of my course, I particularly enjoyed the flying I did in my first year. The instructors were fantastic, and it confirmed to me that this was something I would want to do in the future. In terms of modules, my favourites were the Pilot Studies modules in my first and second year, as well as the Avionics and Communications Systems and Avionic Systems Design modules in my second and third year, primarily because these modules were the most specific to the course. However, some modules surprised me with how much I enjoyed them, such as the Mathematic specific modules, and the Image Processing and Photonics modules I did in my final year. When choosing final year projects, I was able to put forward my own project that I was passionate about, titled ‘Finding MH370’, and I was lucky enough to have one of my lecturers supervise me on it. 

How have you been supported while studying?

The University have been incredibly helpful during my time studying and beyond. Every student was given an academic advisor at the beginning of their studies that stayed with them throughout their time at university. My academic advisor was fantastic and was always on hand with any queries or questions I had. The lecturers themselves were also amazing, and were clearly all devoted to their area of study. Especially if I was struggling with a module, the lecturer was, on every occasion, willing to help.

The library was a fantastic place to not only study alone, but study with friends. Group projects were regularly conducted in the study spaces they had available there, as well as individual intense work and revision that needed to be done. I studied mostly in the Harold Cohen Library, which was filled with books that were more than helpful to my studies, as well as simply just being interesting to read. Lecturers would often provide reading lists, and the library always had those books available, supplying help and enhanced knowledge to my learning.

How do you spend your time when you aren't studying?

Despite my timetable usually being full with regular 9-5 lecture days, and being the Course Rep for Avionic Systems throughout my three years at university, there would be the odd occasion I was free to do other things! In my first year, I tried out fencing for the first time; something which I never thought I would do! The range of sports that the university has to offer is so broad and unique. Subsequently in my second year, I joined the gymnastics club.

As mentioned earlier, I have been a flautist for many years, and so naturally decided to join the music society in my first and second year, playing in the Stage and Screen Orchestra, Concert Band and the Symphony Orchestra. I also was very privileged, and was selected on numerous occasions to play some of my original compositions on the piano at various Christmas and Charity Concerts.

In my second year, I applied for the Liverpool University Air Squadron. After making it through the selection process, I had an amazing two years with them. I was able to fly aerobatics at RAF Woodvale, go skiing in Austria, visit Germany and Norway learning about Air Power, visit various RAF bases around the UK and work at the Royal International Air Tattoo. Those experiences were only a few of the amazing things I was able to do whilst a part of the Air Squadron, and I was very lucky to have been a part of it.

What are your plans for the future?

Due to COVID-19, mine and many other students’ futures have been left slightly uncertain, but what is not uncertain is the support and knowledge I have gained through my time at the University of Liverpool. I have been exposed to so many different experiences that I never thought possible, and my eyes have been opened to a world of opportunities. My ultimate goal, that has not changed since that age of 13, is to become a commercial airline pilot. However, I have learnt so much about master’s programmes that are possible for me to undertake, and the Royal Air Force, that the world really is my oyster. I have so many people to thank for my time at university.