IET invests £3 million in education to tackle lack of engineers in industry

Female Diamond Jubilee scholar numbers fall this year highlighting need to encourage more women into industry

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has announced that, along with its partners, it is investing £3 million over the next five years to nurture and support young talent in the industry.

Through its Diamond Jubilee Scholarship programme, the IET has awarded 102 scholarships to students who are UK residents and started either an IET accredited Undergraduate or Masters engineering degree course in the autumn of 2015, with 29% of these awarded to female candidates.

However, despite being an increase on the inaugural year figure (19% in 2013), and still way above the number of female students accepted on to UK engineering degrees[i], the figure has dropped since last year from 42% to 29%. As a result, the IET is specifically calling on girls to apply for the 2016 Diamond Jubilee Scholarship – to receive a package of support that could kick start both their engineering education, and their career.

Ceri Linton, who studies Engineering at Durham University, was also recently awarded a Diamond Jubilee Scholarship. The scholarship is a great help to Ceri, as it will provide her with financial security while enabling her to travel to STEM events across the country. Ceri is inspired by the prospect of making a real change to the world, and is excited to work with the IET on its outreach to encourage more young people into engineering – particularly those who do not generally follow STEM pathways.

Maths and Physics

Jacob Rawson, a Diamond Jubilee Scholar at the University of Surrey, chose to study Electronic Engineering because he had always enjoyed maths and physics, both core components of engineering. Jacob is particularly interested in communications engineering, and has already run a small crowdfunding campaign to launch a small Bluetooth development board that can stream music and data. He feels that receiving a scholarship from the IET and BT will help him by providing enriching resources, and the experience of being in contact with a professional body. In addition, the money means that he can purchase equipment that would otherwise only be available to him in a lab.

The IET Diamond Jubilee Scholarship scheme is now in its fourth year.  The scholarships provide each winner with at least £1,000 per academic year. Winners also benefit from mentoring, work experience placements through the IET’s extensive networks and sponsoring companies, and membership of the IET, in an attempt to close the ever growing skills gap which has increased for the ninth year running.

Naomi Climer, IET President commented: “We’re thrilled to have been able to support young talented engineers for the fourth year in a row – including a large percentage of girls. However, with a drop in female recipients since last year, it’s clear to us that more needs to be done to encourage girls into our industry. Currently, just 9% of the UK’s engineering work force is female so it’s crucial that we continue to inspire female STEM enthusiasts as much as possible to attract them to careers in engineering.

“However, it’s not just women we need – it has been estimated that approximately 87,000 new engineers will be needed each year until 2020 to address the current skills shortage. As a result, it has never been more important to encourage young people to study engineering, so that they can have fulfilling and rewarding careers, but also in order to help protect the UK’s economy and status as a world leader in the industry.”

Scholarship programme

The IET Diamond Jubilee Scholarship programme is open to all  students who are UK residents hoping to achieve 3 ‘A’s at A Level, 3 ‘A’ grade Advanced Highers, 5 ‘A’ grade Highers or an International Baccalaureate Diploma at 36 points or above and who are applying to join an IET accredited engineering or technology degree course.  Those who are selected receive at least £1,000 per year during their studies.

The IET’s investment is being made in collaboration with the Belling Charitable Settlement, the ERA Foundation and The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, Siemens, BAE systems, and BT.

Prospective students who are wishing to apply for a Diamond Jubilee Scholarship can apply online at www.theiet.org/diamond.

 

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