22 May, 2022

The BFPA invests time in ensuring that our best students are not ‘lost’ to the non-technical disciplines

04 January, 2015
Regular readers of this column will know that the British Fluid Power Association (BFPA) is passionate about UK manufacturing and the wider engineering supply industry. An equally emotive topic is that of skills, or in some instances the shortage of them, in the fluid power sector. Indeed, this has been a regular theme in both this and many other industry journals over the past couple of years. However, no amount of skills training in the STEM arena is of any use if upon completion of their education, students choose to move out of the industry only to undertake a career in Law, Accountancy or one of the alternative non-technical career paths. This problem has long been recognised, and there are several initiatives that have emerged with the sole purpose of improving the image of engineering as a good and lucrative career for students at all levels. One such initiative is the Arkwright Trust. On its website the Trust states: “We identify, inspire and nurture future leaders in Engineering and technical (as opposed to aesthetic) Design. We do this by awarding Arkwright Engineering Scholarships, through a rigorous selection process, to high-calibre students in year 11 (England and Wales), S4 (Scotland), year 12 (Northern Ireland). Our Engineering Scholarships support students through their A Levels or Scottish Highers and encourage students to pursue Engineering or technical Design at university or through a higher-level apprenticeship and to take up careers in the field.” Every Scholarship is sponsored by industrial companies, universities, charitable trusts, trade associations, professional engineering institutions, the Armed Services, Worshipful Companies, industry regulators or personal donors. To this extent the Trust relies on the support of people and organisations with an interest in the future of engineering and technical design. The BFPA is very supportive of the Arkwright Trust and 2014 saw the Association sponsor three promising young students. The scholarships were awarded at a recent ceremony held at the Mermaid Conference Centre in London and hosted by the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation. The BFPA’s CEO Chris Buxton said of the initiative: “We have to dispel the archaic view that engineering is somehow a secondary career choice after what is misleadingly termed, ‘the professions’. Young students of the right calibre starting out can now expect to earn significantly more than their counter parts in other areas such as law and some might argue that they will be embarking upon a much more interesting career! It will certainly deliver more to UK GDP.” Buxton continued: “Recently released figures from the Times Good University Guide show that six of the top ten highest earning subjects based on starting salaries are engineering disciplines.” Clearly there is still much work to do in dispelling the old school views on a career in engineering, but at least the BFPA is ‘doing its bit’ to address this challenge.

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