The highly respected Arkwright Engineering Scholarship are designed to inspire and equip the next generation of UK engineering talent.
This year Arkwright is celebrating a record number of female scholars embarking upon its 2020 programme with a total 300 scholarships awarded to bright and aspiring 16-year-old students from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with 45 per cent of these presented to female students and 38 per cent to young people from non-selective state schools
As part of a drive to inspire future leaders in engineering The ERA Foundation has directly supported five Engineering Scholarship.
The scheme has now entered its 30th year, and the Scholarship now provides young people in the UK with a fully sponsored programme of hands-on experience, professional mentorship and careers guidance. Arkwright Engineering Scholars benefit from financial support, professional mentorship, exclusive networking opportunities and real-world learning experiences with leading engineering firms such as the IET, the RAF, Rolls Royce and Network Rail. The enrichment experiences offer students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in different engineering specialisms and discover a wide range of exciting career paths, from aerospace to robotics.
The ERA Foundation believes that now more than ever fostering Engineering skills in the next generation is critical. The engineering industry has played an essential role in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, from developing PPE for frontline workers to helping construct new hospitals. A diverse pipeline of future engineering talent will pave the way for greater innovation and help sustain the nation’s development and economic recovery through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – however, skilled engineers are in short supply.
With women currently accounting for just 22 per cent of the STEM workforce, the Arkwright Engineering Programme aims to close the gender gap and support young people from all backgrounds with the skills and confidence to change the world through engineering. The programme aims to break down the misconceptions which some young people may have around working in STEM and offer exposure to inspiring female engineering role models, as scholars get to experience first-hand the positive impact which engineering can have on society.
Kevin Stenson, CEO of The Smallpeice Trust, explains that “Improving gender equality and raising aspirations in STEM amongst all students must begin from within the industry; it’s the responsibility of STEM organisations, government and employers to join forces and provide accessible learning experiences for young people. We work with some brilliant-like minded partners, such as BAE Systems and the Institution of Engineering and Technology, to provide scholars with accessible, hands-on STEM experiences and careers guidance through our Arkwright Engineering Scholarship Programme.
The year-long scholarship application process, which involves an online application, an aptitude exam and a virtual interview, is designed to assess students’ engineering knowledge as well as other key life skills such as leadership and creative thinking. Once successful a scholars’ hard work is rewarded through a nationally recognised Scholarship certification to supplement university and apprenticeship applications. Schools participating in the programme further receive a £400 donation per awarded Scholar at their school, which they can utilise for STEM events and resources to benefit students.