Liv Urwin, Year 12, tells us more about her experience as an Arkwright Engineering Scholar…

This prestigious National award is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your STEM talents, boost your UCAS appeal and gain lots of practical experience. Plus there’s a cash award of £600 to go towards your career development, and a bonus of £400 for the School! Interested? Keep reading:

The application process was a little daunting, but each phase gave me invaluable experience. The application form itself required documenting my school career, plans for the future and a detailed description of an engineering project I had undertaken. For me, this was a computer-controlled robot arm.

The next step was a two-hour exam in controlled conditions at school. There was very little preparation I could do for this one, so I had to rely on my creativity! One question required me to design a drainage system. It was very strange to enter an exam and not be totally rehearsed in the format, but thankfully I survived!

Finally, I was lucky to be shortlisted for an interview. These were held all over the country, though I only had to travel to Northumbria University. I spent the whole day there, participating in group challenges and finally the all-important interview. I had to present my engineering project to a panel of industry and academic experts. Thankfully, they were very nice but it was still a bit nerve-wracking. I knew even if I didn’t get a scholarship, the day had been an incredible opportunity to practise my interview skills. After the interview was complete it was just a case of waiting to hear the results…

I was thrilled when I received an email to say I was one of the lucky recipients of a scholarship. I was paired with my industry mentor, Haribo (yes, that Haribo!) and attended a graduation ceremony with them in Edinburgh. I also visited them at their HQ over half-term to gain invaluable industry experience. From application form to the ceremony, the process took a year.

The funds I received have been put towards two courses to help me further explore my university options.

This year, the Arkwright programme plans to double the number of scholars and increase its share of female scholars from 30% to 50%. So girls, get planning! Start thinking about possible projects you could do and read their website which outlines all the different industry areas that mentors come from. Be inspired. And good luck!

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