Josh McTigue, mechanical engineering student

Josh McTigue was awarded an IET FUSE scholarship for the duration of his mechanical engineering degree at the University of Cambridge, allowing him to enjoy all the opportunities university life offers.

Josh McTigue Josh found it difficult choosing a course at university because he found most subjects at school interesting. In the end he decided he wanted to study something that had good career prospects and would have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. During his A levels he began to enjoy mathematics more than his other subjects and engineering seemed to be the natural choice moving forward.

“My engineering studies introduced me to a wide range of current issues and I was particularly interested in the challenges associated with developing viable energy solutions, which is something that I hope to pursue further,” he explains.

Concerns over student debts

Josh was concerned about how much university would cost and didn’t want to end up with large debts and so he came across the IET’s Awards and Scholarships website whilst searching the Internet for places that might provide financial support.

Josh’s application stood out and he was one of the many students awarded an IET FUSE scholarship, which had the immediate effect of helping to reduce his financial burden of attending university.

Stress free university life

“This allowed me to focus on my studies without worrying about money issues,” he says. “Without this stress I found I was free to enjoy the wide range of opportunities that university life offered, such as music, sport, societies and social activities.

“An assortment of other benefits came with the scholarship, such as membership to the IET, which included a subscription to E&T magazine which kept me broadly informed about current issues and developments in engineering. Moreover, membership introduced me first hand to the range of support and information that institutions such as the IET provide,” he adds.

Confidence in his ability

Being recognised by one of the largest engineering institutions also gave Josh confidence in his ability as an engineering student, and helped to make a positive statement to companies when he applied for summer jobs.

“Receiving the scholarship was like a positive reference on my CV, this led to me gaining a wide range of experiences,” he enthuses. “I spent each summer of my degree doing internships at engineering companies and I enjoyed learning about the practicalities of engineering. I learnt how to apply some of the techniques that I had learnt at university to real world problems.

Internship opportunities

“I found this very rewarding because I was not only able to tackle difficult problems using my university education, but my understanding of these techniques was also improved. The internships were a great way to find out more about specific industries, for instance I worked as a reservoir engineer for BP and discovered a lot about how the company operated. I also had the opportunity to use state of the art software for reservoir modelling.

“This year I worked for a company in Strasbourg where I used an advanced computational fluid dynamics code for analysing the atmospheric flows over complex terrain for wind turbine sites. Internships therefore allowed me to use techniques or software that had not been part of my university courses to tackle new and specific problems,” he adds.

Future plans

Josh is hugely grateful to the IET for helping support him through the first stages of his engineering career. He has enjoyed academia and has decided to continue in education by undertaking a PhD on the optimisation of thermal energy storage.

“In the long term, I would like to work in the energy industry and gain experience tackling the practical issues that arise when implementing new and developing technologies. I’m interested in energy because it is a very relevant area where a great deal of innovation is occurring,” he concludes.