Brian and Patrick Harvey 180Double celebrations have taken place in the Harvey family as father Brian joined his son Patrick in receiving a fire engineering degree after recently completing a part-time course together at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Both men, from Trenewan in Cornwall, studied part-time for their undergraduate degree while working full-time for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. They travelled north four times a year for two week study blocks, all with the support of their employers.

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Fifty-seven year old Brian has worked for the Service for 38 years and is currently a Fire Safety School Manager, based in Plymouth. Patrick has been a firefighter at Camels Head Fire Station, in Plymouth, for five years.

Brian said: “I’m thrilled and excited to have graduated, especially at the same time as my son. As an ‘oldie’ I never thought I would ever get a university education. I feel very lucky and privileged to have had the opportunity. I would encourage any person contemplating taking on study later in life to put any doubts behind them and give it a go. Age is no barrier; in fact it can even be an advantage. It’s your attitude that counts.

"I have devoted most of my working life to the Fire and Rescue Service. I knew I had a solid background in this field, but there was still much to learn. I felt this degree course would give me new knowledge, widen my horizons, deepen my understanding and improve my professional standing. It didn’t disappoint."

"In the short term I hope that I will get the opportunity to apply my new skills at work, particularly when new buildings with fire engineered solutions are submitted for approval. In the long term, and with so many opportunities available in this field, who knows where this degree will lead me.”

His 29-year-old son Patrick added: “For me this all started when I was helping dad get his head around some of the first year maths subjects. Eventually I thought I might as well be doing this for myself, so I did. Four years, plenty of books and hours in front of the laptop later and I find myself lucky enough to be able to graduate with the one who started it all.

“I found the course to be a different every day. It’s been fascinating, inspiring, thought provoking and challenging but it’s been worthwhile. I believe I have already benefited professionally and personally from the information and experiences gained at UCLan and believe it will be of great benefit throughout my future career in the fire service.”

Find out more about UCLAN's fire engineering courses at