Shreya Kamath, a Year 12 student at Bolton School Girls' Division, was one of the students hand-picked from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to achieve a coveted Arkwright Engineering Scholarship award this summer. A total of 415 scholars will receive financial and mentoring support through their A-Levels and Scottish Advanced Higher qualifications, as part of a drive to inspire future leaders in engineering.
The Arkwright Engineering Scholarships is a programme from national STEM education charity the Smallpeice Trust, which has been providing scholarships to students since 1991.
This year more than 1,370 students aged between 15 and 16 years old applied, following nominations from their schools. Scholars are selected for their potential as future engineering leaders by assessing their academic, practical and leadership skills in engineering disciplines. These are gauged through a year-long selection process which involves an assessed application form including a teacher’s reference; a two-hour, problem-solving aptitude exam; and a university-based interview.
The successful applicants were invited to receive their accolade at ceremonies held at the Institute of Engineering and Technology in London and the International Conference Centre in Edinburgh.
At her award ceremony, Shreya received her Scholarship award and met with a representative from her sponsor, DS Smith packaging: a forward thinking company who are tackling packaging design in what they describe as ‘a changing world’.
This year, Scholarships were awarded to 126 female students, representing 30.4% of all 2019 Arkwright scholars, and the award ceremonies were used to highlight the achievements of women in engineering. Former female Arkwright alumni now working with UK organisations and Arkwright principal sponsors were asked to speak to the assembled scholars on how their path into engineering has provided them with opportunities to excel.
Nigel Fine, Chief Executive of The Institution of Engineering and Technology, who spoke to the scholars at the London ceremonies commented: “We want to build the profile of engineering and technology to change outdated perceptions and tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and working with STEM organisations, the government, educators and industry, to encourage young people to consider careers in engineering.
“The IET has supported Arkwright Engineering Scholarships for many years and we are proud to be associated with them. We support everything that these scholarships stand for – helping brilliant students take the next steps in what could be their engineering and technology futures.”
Dr Alan Begg, Chairman of The Smallpeice Trust, who hosted the ceremonies in London and Edinburgh, also stated:
“Given the considerable shortage of skilled workers in the sector, the engineering community needs to grow the pool of potential talent to be as inclusive as possible. It is well documented that only 12% of all engineers in the UK are women. If we are to address these challenges we need to make the many incredible female role models more visible.
“These aspiring engineers are at the start of a journey that I believe will see them become leaders in their chosen field.”
Arkwright Scholarships support students through their sixth form studies and encourage them into top universities or higher apprenticeships while offering access to a range of enrichment experiences such as industry conferences, Connect Days, mentoring, residential courses and university VIP days.
The scholarships consist of an annual financial award to each scholar and to his/her school, and enrichment activities such as mentoring and industry visits that enhance a scholar's experience of engineering in a real-world context.