By Liam, Westcliff High School for Boys
For any aspiring engineer, the Arkwright Scholarship is something you should definitely learn about and give great consideration to. The Arkwright Scholarship Trust aims to award promising engineers the chance to receive a sum of money to aid them through their Sixth Form education and inspire engineers to achieve.
The process started for me at the beginning of Year 11 when I filled in an application which asked me all about my aspirations for life.The key to an Arkwright scholarship is passion, enthusiasm and raw skill as an engineer, and they start looking for this in your application.You are asked about your work in school, your GCSE DT coursework project, and about your work outside of school.Projects and interests you have in your own time are a good indicator of how interested you are in engineering and how things around you work.
For me personally, I used a project I was undertaking in the Air Training Corps to build a remote control glider.This was built to give some aid to the cadets that wished to complete a gliding scholarship so they could learn how to use the elevator effectively.The plane was built out of balsa and was meticulously sanded to provide an aerofoil shape (manipulating Bernoulli’s effect to produce lift).Also included in it was the use of radio equipment salvaged from old radio handsets and servo motors.
Every applicant for the Arkwright Scholarship sits an aptitude test, which consists of designing a solution to any of the three problems presented to you. I had to analyse the brief offered to me and explain about the ergonomics, manufacture, mechanisms, materials and more.
There is then the interview stage and I was invited to Imperial College London.There are three parts to the day which include a team exercise, a tour of the university and the personal interview.The most nerve-wracking bit is of course the personal interview in which they took great interest in my ambitious GCSE project, and in my project at cadets.I explained to them everything I could about both and they seemed quite happy (even though I admitted my GCSE project wasn’t, at that time, working!).
The rest of the day was very enjoyable.The team exercise was great fun and we had to create a capsule for the first men on mars with only plastic sheets and masking tape.It had to house the team of six standing, without contact of any sort with the capsule and stay inflated for a full minute.The tour of the university was also very valuable and the student who showed us around was so enthusiastic about the place that I am giving serious consideration to Imperial.
After a couple of months which seemed to stretch on forever, a letter came with the great news that I was successful in obtaining the very prestigious scholarship. Later I was informed that my sponsor was the RAF, and in the October half term, I was invited to the Institute of Engineering and Technology at Savoy Place in London. Here, I was awarded the first of two cheques for £250 both for me and for the school; mine to be spent as I wish on anything beneficial to my advancement as an engineer. At the presentation, I was also shown just how many doors have now been opened; the opportunities provided by the Arkwright Scholarship are vast and include not only a brilliant claim to an engineering degree, but very many very valuable links into industry, provided by sponsors and other affiliated companies.
I would strongly advise anyone who is confident in their abilities as an engineer and is serious about careers within that field to apply for the scholarship as the benefits are so phenomenal.