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Mike Naylor

They say it’s never too late to pursue something you are passionate about and, at the age of 60, Mike Naylor is showing this is also true when it comes to changing careers. 

Mike, a former teacher, has always had a keen interest in construction. With a strong mathematical background, Mike is combining his aptitude for numbers with his long-held love of buildings, and is hoping to start a new career as a quantity surveyor. And whilst some might be put off the idea of returning to university at a time when many are considering retiring, Mike is loving being back in education. 

Mike said: “I’ve really enjoyed this course – having been a teacher for such a long time, it was a pleasure to be on the other side of learning so to speak. 

“Construction, renovation, decorating, all of that has always been something I’ve really enjoyed. I probably should have pursued this as a career to begin with but I took a different path. I have overseen quite a few personal renovation projects on my own properties – I like getting stuck in and developing new skills and I think it has stemmed from there. 

“After leaving teaching I completed a Diploma in HR Learning and Development with the intention of moving into corporate training, but my circumstances resulted in me returning to South Africa where I grew up. Whilst there I furthered my interest in property and worked as a property photographer for seven years before moving back to the UK.”

At this point, Mike began researching potential courses to support him with his goal of working in quantity surveying. 

Mike said: “My partner and I moved to Plymouth and I discovered the Foundation Degree in Construction at the College and decided to apply. 

“It has been hugely eye-opening and I have learnt an incredible amount about the construction industry. This course is really generic and covers everything from building regulations and health and safety requirements, to construction methods. It’s full-on but I’ve really enjoyed it. We also have a really mixed group – some of whom are quite competitive so that’s brought quite a fun element to it all! 

“Whilst this course doesn’t necessarily provide a direct route into quantity surveying and I have completed an additional course with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, there is still a lot that will be hugely helpful in the future.”

In addition to hopefully finding his first job in quantity surveying, Mike will also be starting work on building his own house in Devon. 

He said: “I’ve done bathroom renovations, put in new kitchens, extensions, that sort of thing, but I’ve never done a full house build before. Thanks to the skills I’ve picked up through this course, I’ve done the plans for our house myself. I really enjoyed learning computer-aided design. This course has certainly given me the confidence to do the self-build.

“If you have no background in construction or any formal experience and you are looking to enter this industry, this course is a really good starting point. You will be busy as there is a lot to cover, but I’ve loved having this opportunity and would thoroughly recommend the HNC. 

“City College supports a lot of mature students and even at the age of 60, I didn’t feel out of place. In our group we have people of all ages so you shouldn’t be worried about feeling out of place.

 “I’m now on the hunt for a job – hopefully I can find something somewhere between an apprentice and a surveying assistant and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into my new career.”