We’re working with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) to offer its Engineering Horizons Bursary to a new generation of aspiring engineers. We’ve funded the IET to offer at least 12 bursaries of £1,000 a year for up to four years, and the first group has now completed their studies – in spite of the inevitable disruption caused by the COVID pandemic.
The bursaries are supporting a diverse range of people into an equally wide variety of engineering roles, providing a vital financial boost but also helping increase confidence and put students in touch with mentors and potential employers. 2020’s cohort of students demonstrate the wealth of opportunities in engineering and the fact that it can be a career for everyone, whatever their background or the challenges they have to face.
The IET supports engineering talent at every stage of education, as part of its mission to address the engineering skills shortage that has an impact on our society. Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s support for the bursary is perfectly aligned with our mission to widen access and bring engineering-related skills and education to previously disadvantaged or under-represented groups.
IET scholarships and bursaries make a massive difference to students by providing enough financial support to help with books, laptops and the other expensive essentials of an engineering degree. They have an impressive track record of helping get fledgeling engineering careers off the ground. 71% of graduates who benefit are now employed in engineering or technology, and 14% are undertaking postgraduate study in an engineering or technology subject.
Robotics student Boran Cetinkaya’s passion for engineering was sparked by playing with Lego. It’s taken him to a BEng course at the University of Plymouth and a successful application for a Horizons bursary. He explains:
“The idea of creating innovative projects that can have an impact on the world and generations ahead was always intriguing. I was always interested in tech and robots, when I was introduced to robotics through ‘Lego NXT Mindstorm’ I knew I wanted to pursue a career in this field.”
He sums up the difference the funding has made: “It will help me pay for my travels and help me out with rent and take a bit of the pressure off my parents.”
Tyler Downs, a BEng Sports Design Engineering Student at the University of Strathclyde, decided engineering was the career for him when “helping my dad fix anything and everything in our garage”.
After work experience at British Airways he landed a job as a Junior Mechanic, working on Airbus A320 aircraft. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic led to Tyler and his fellow Junior Mechanics being made redundant. However, things have worked out well:
“Losing my job gave me an opportunity to realise how important it is to do something you are passionate about and this is what made me return to university,” says Tyler.
“Unfortunately, after being unemployed for over six months I struggled financially, and although my part time job helped, I was still unable to afford to move to university as I wouldn’t be able to afford the extra bills.”
“Receiving the IET Horizons Bursary will provide me with the financial support I need to allow me to move out of my parents’ house and move to Glasgow so I can be close to university. The money I receive will go towards essentials such as food and rent as well as course materials. This will have a huge impact on my life as during first year I was far away from university and my fellow students whilst studying online.”
Mark Jones has a passion for nature and the environment and is studying for an MEng part time at the Open University and hopes to work in environmental engineering. He describes the difference the funding has made to him:
“The bursary will make a world of difference. In the first year it will allow me to upgrade my 9-year-old laptop with something capable of performing more than email and Microsoft Word.”
Mark is also planning to use the funds to make a contribution to tomorrow’s engineers: “The remaining funds will be put aside to assist my application to become a STEM Ambassador later next year when life returns to normality.”
Another recipient, Eli Mei, has overcome many challenges including ill-health while a teenager, and is currently using her bursary to help her in her Aerospace Engineering Degree Apprenticeship with the Ministry of Defence:
“I have long had an interest in engineering. I was always interested in how things worked, were put together and reacted to the surrounding environment. I really enjoyed physics and maths at school but wanted to experience and develop engineering as much as I could. I chose to do A-levels in Physics, Chemistry and Maths as well as taking on extra opportunities. This included putting together a project for the National Engineering Competition for Girls 2015, where I was a shortlisted finalist and got to showcase my project at the Big Bang Fair.
“I believe the support from the IET will help support me through my apprenticeship as well as helping me develop my confidence, so that I can inspire others, by showing that your hurdles will not hold you back, as well as by being an ambassador for engineering and taking on a mentor role.”
Mark Goudie, Chair of the Engineering Horizons Bursary panel, says,
“This funding is contributing to the IET's ongoing commitment to reduce the skills gap and will assist in widening access. These bursaries have a real impact on the lives of students and apprentices who are passionate about engineering. Supporting them during their training and education will put them on a path that is both rewarding, but also vital to the UK economy.”
The bursary scheme is open to people of all ages and from all types of educational background – all you need is a determination to pursue a career in engineering.
The financial support is just part of the bursary – winners also benefit from mentoring and work experience placements through the IET’s extensive networks. It also enables them to take part in STEM activities to encourage the next generation of engineers.