A scholarship that has helped several aspiring engineering get the career skills they need has opened for 2019.
The scholarship, funded by Ørsted, is now in its third year at Furness College with up to £40,000 available to fund students through engineering courses at the Channelside campus, in Barrow-in-Furness.
Ørsted, the global leader in offshore wind has set aside the money through its Walney Extension Community Fund to help people across South Cumbria get the education they need to progress in their dream careers in engineering.
So far, eight students have benefited from the scholarship, which pays student fees for a range of courses in electrical and mechanical engineering – from a national diploma and HNC through to degrees and Honours degrees – to support those who may not otherwise be able to finance themselves through qualifications.
Imran Nawaz, Stakeholder Advisor at Ørsted, said: “It great to hear about the success stories behind Walney Extension Community Fund, as its whole purpose is to help make a positive impact in the local area. We’re delighted to be helping local people to build the skills they need to pursue their dream careers and help develop the next generation of engineers. The recent Sector Deal announcement by the UK Government aims to triple the number of jobs in the offshore wind sector by 2030, so now is a great time to explore the growing career opportunities in the industry.”
Kate Colebourn, Head of Area for Technical and Build Engineering at Furness College, said the scholarship is breaking down financial barriers to higher education.
“As the largest provider of education and skills training in Cumbria we are delighted to be able to offer this scholarship again in partnership with Ørsted. We know there is a growing demand for highly-skilled workers, particularly in engineering, and this is enabling people to develop the skills that will enable them to progress in employment.
“Through this partnership we have seen how this funding can transform people’s lives and future prospects. We’ve had a construction worker take up electrical engineering, a welder retrain as a technical engineer, an unemployed university graduate start on a career path in mechanical engineering and a cruise ship DJ and new father make the life-changing move into engineering to provide financial security for his family.”
“It allows us to focus on finding the talented engineers of the future and support the business community by ensuring workers have the skills they need.”
The college will deliver the courses from September on its £47m Channelside campus and students will study in the cutting-edge Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Centre, which won a BBC North West Building of the Decade award.
The successful students will join more than 500 students on higher education courses at the college, which has secured an ‘excellent’ rating in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework report for ensuring students go into highly skilled employment after their studies and for the academic support it offers.
Ørsted, formerly known as DONG Energy, has a vision to create a world that runs entirely on green energy and is at the forefront of the UK’s transition to low-carbon energy supplies. Last year the company officially opened the world’s largest wind farm, Walney Extension, off the coast of Cumbria – a project that is capable of powering more than half a million UK homes.
The courses available with support range from a national diploma to HNC right through to an Honours degree in mechanical or electrical engineering.
A gardening entrepreneur who had always dreamt of a career in engineering has praised a scholarship scheme that is helping him reach his goal.
Paul Bland applied for the Ørsted scholarship through Furness College in Barrow and was over the moon to secure a place funding his HNC in Mechanical Engineering.
Now completing his second year, the former horticulture manager from Askam is hoping to apply to study a degree at the Channelside campus and has urged others to consider applying for the scholarship.
“If I was to give any advice to someone thinking of applying for the scholarship it would be just to take the chance and apply, “ he said. “I have to say when I applied I didn’t for one second think I would be either eligible or selected. Even once I received the email I still didn’t believe it and I had to reply to ask for confirmation.”
The 41-year-old heard about the opportunity through the local media and an article on the college website. The Ørsted scholarship is now in its third year at Furness College with £40,000 available to pay for another six students to complete higher education courses.
“I had very few alternatives to raise the capital necessary to continue my education and was grateful of the opportunity,” he said.
Progressing well on the course he said he is enjoying access to the college’s ‘amazing facilities’ which are a great introduction to the engineering industry as he studies alongside experienced engineers.
“The best thing about the course so far is realising the science behind items that have fascinated me for years and learning why things are the way they are and how they were conceived. Also breaking down academic principles that to most people are reasonably simple but I have struggled to grasp and now I am starting to understand.
“Furness College staff are also a real asset, I have always found them helpful enthusiastic and patient.
Paul left school at 16 and worked in the agricultural and horticultural industries before setting up his own gardening business, which he ran for five years. He then worked for a ground maintenance company before securing an operations manager role in a sales and manufacturing company.
When the company relocated to Wales two years ago he decided to pursue his passion for engineering.
“It’s what I have always wanted to do,” he said. “Now with this help of the Ørsted scholarship I can achieve my future career plans as I intend to carry on to a degree.”
Applications to the scholarship opened this week. People who are not in full-time employment or who wish to retrain in engineering may be eligible to apply for the scholarship. For a full list of criteria or to find out more, call Cenedra McSkimmings at Furness College on 01229 844793 or via email [email protected].