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Your avenues are limitless – as these Built Environment students tell us!

Three Carpenters who have just finished their Level 3 Carpentry qualification, have taken the leap to study the Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Built Environment alongside their employment.

Lee Purkiss (19), Peter Smallpiece (25) and Henry Smith (20) are all employed by carpentry firms and believed that they could benefit from taking the extra class.

Hear more from the students themselves:


“For me, it felt like a natural progression to do the course, as it will give me more options when I get older. I never want to feel stuck in one place – I might stay on as a carpenter, but this course will give me the opportunity to go elsewhere if I want to. Since I’m still quite young and I still live at home, doing one less day at work to come to college doesn’t impact me much right now, but it could have massive impact on my future.

“I did Level 2 and Level 3 Carpentry at Eastleigh College, and I’m so glad I did the Level 3 now otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to progress onto the HNC in Built Environment. It’s been a big learning curve – the classes are more like lectures, and you have multiple topics running at the same time, whereas we did one module at a time in Carpentry. There is much more extra work involved in this course.

But the more education you get under your belt and the more you learn, the more you’ll get out of your future.”


 “I chose to continue my studies onto the HNC for my three children – I don’t want to be working as a Carpenter forever, eventually I want to move into management or start up my own business.

“The HNC will give me a broader spectrum of knowledge of the whole construction process, not just carpentry. I’ll learn why each trade does their job a certain way. So far we’ve already learnt more about certain contractual procedures involved in the building industry, as well as the different methods used to cost a project.  

“This year the course is taught just in a classroom, but as long as you’re determined and willing to do the work, you know you’re building up to what you’ll achieve at the end of it.”


“Because I’m continuing on an Apprenticeship, I’ll also complete an NVQ in addition to this course, and it means the course is funded for me as well. I think doing the HNC in Built Environment is going to open up more options for me.

“Everything we’re doing this year we have already touched upon in Level 3 Carpentry, especially things like Health and Safety, but our tutor last year made the transition so much easier for us. He knew we were all going on to the Level 4 HNC, so he made us go the extra mile on our coursework. It made it hard for us at the time, but it was preparing us for the next level. So now, we know exactly what is expected of us to achieve in the HNC.

I don’t know what area of construction I want to go into in the future, but I’m hoping this course will give me a better overall knowledge of the industry and help guide me to a career I want.”