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Raja Khan

Building Surveying – BSc (Hons)

University was always a priority for Raja, but only became a possibility for him after he had secured the Building Birmingham Scholarship. Since coming to BCU, Raja has gone from strength to strength, developing into a mature and professional individual. Once he graduates, he aims to become a chartered surveyor so he can positively impact people’s quality of living.

"I always wanted to go to university as my parents encouraged me to from a very young age. To help me decide what to study I started to work part time and attain as much work experience as I could in different sectors. I also attended an Open Day at BCU, where I heard a building surveyor described as “the doctor of the built environment” – this really appealed to me. The combination of the Open Day and my work experience helped me make the decision to study Building Surveying as I have always been interested in creating things and wanted to work in the built environment.

Although I knew what course I wanted to study at Birmingham City University, I didn’t have the financial means to do so. I was concerned about fees especially, as all student grants for university ceased to exist. Applying for a loan wasn’t an option in my mind as using interest loans is against my religious beliefs. This forced me to have to look for alternative routes into university.

At first, I tried to win the Millennium Point Scholarship; I made it to the finals, presented to an audience of industry professionals but unfortunately wasn’t successful. However, I had been given a Building Birmingham Scholarship leaflet at Open Day and investigated what it involved. The scholarship is a Birmingham City Council run programme to fund students from the city who come from a household where the annual income is no more than £35,000. As I met the criteria, I applied and was successful!

The Building Birmingham Scholarship offered me financial support, mentoring and most importantly relevant work experience tailored to my course. I started and completed my first year at university as a full-time building surveying student and completed three placements through the scheme. This then led to me securing a level six degree apprenticeship with a global design and consultancy firm, which funded the remaining years of my studies via the apprenticeship levy. I have the scholarship and BCU to thank for my success due to their great collaborative efforts.

As Birmingham City University only started rolling out Degree Apprenticeships the year that I joined, I had to convince my training provider it was the right university for me. I told them that as an individual I’d struggle to complete a degree via other institutes, and I would have rejected my apprenticeship if I had to leave BCU. 

I am passionate about studying at BCU for many reasons. Firstly, my lecturers have continuously supported me and encouraged me to succeed. My course has provided me with a global outlook, as I was able to visit Copenhagen and explore different types of life and culture. I have gained skills in Computer Aided Design – 2D and 3D, technical knowledge and learnt to work well with others. Plus, I have completed Graduate+ Awards which have also helped me become a well-rounded individual. 

My journey has come full circle and I've progressed from learning about building surveying at an Open Day to being a student ambassador delivering a speech about it at several Open Days! My university experience has allowed me to evolve from an immature teenager into a built environment professional. Once I graduate, I aim to become a chartered surveyor and improve the quality of life in as many countries as possible.

Success, maturity, determination and passion; is what ‘I AM BCU’ means to me. Aiming to shape the world around us through education and action for the better."