Press release

IET invests £3 million in education to tackle lack of engineers in industry

21 January 2016

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has today announced that £3 million has been invested by the IET and its partners this academic year to nurture and support young talent in the industry.

Through its Diamond Jubilee Scholarship programme, the IET has awarded 105 scholarships to students who started either an Undergraduate or Masters engineering degree at a UK-based university in the autumn of 2015, with 29 per cent of these awarded to female candidates.

However, despite being an increase on the inaugural year figure (19 per cent in 2013), the figure has dropped since last year from 42 per cent to 29 per cent. As a result, the IET is specifically calling on girls to apply for the 2016 Diamond Jubilee Scholarship – to receive a package of support that could kick start both their engineering education, and their career.

Imogen Connor-Helleur, a Diamond Jubilee Scholar at the University of Cambridge, chose to study Engineering because it involves everything she enjoyed most about her A-Levels, but in a really practical way – next term she’s looking forward to making her very own radio in class. Imogen feels very inspired by her mother who really showed her that hard work pays off, especially as a woman in a male-dominated workplace – something she’s keen to challenge. She also set up her own STEM club at school, and supports the IET’s initiatives to help inspire more girls into engineering.

For Louise Nolan, a Diamond Jubilee Scholar at the University of Oxford, studying Science Engineering, the subject provides the perfect combination of creativity and problem solving, within a scientific framework. She believes that the scholarship will be an invaluable aid for her throughout her studies – allowing her to focus on future career and education goals and make them easier to obtain. Louise also feels that membership within a scientific community such as the IET will keep her up to date with exciting new technologies in the engineering world.

The IET Diamond Jubilee Scholarship scheme is now in its third year. The scholarships will provide each winner with at least £1,000 per academic year. Winners will also benefit from mentoring, work experience placements through the IET’s extensive networks, and membership of the IET, in an attempt to close the ever growing skills gap which has increased for the ninth year running.

Naomi Climer, IET President commented: “We’re thrilled to have been able to support young talented engineers for the third year in a row – including a large percentage of girls. However, with a drop in female recipients since last year, it’s clear to us that more needs to be done to encourage girls into our industry. Currently, just 9% of the UK’s engineering work force is female so it’s crucial that we continue to inspire female STEM enthusiasts as much as possible to attract them to careers in engineering.

“However, it’s not just women we need – it has been estimated that approximately 87,000 new engineers will be needed each year until 2020 to address the current skills shortage. As a result, it has never been more important to encourage young people to study engineering, so that they can have fulfilling and rewarding careers, but also in order to help protect the UK’s economy and status as a world leader in the industry.”

The IET Diamond Jubilee Scholarship programme is open to all UK students hoping to achieve 3 ‘A’s at A Level, 3 'A' grade Advanced Highers, 5 'A' grade Highers or an International Baccalaureate Diploma at 36 points or above and who are applying to join an IET accredited engineering or technology degree course. Those who are selected receive at least £1,000 per year during their studies.

The IET’s investment is being made in collaboration with the Belling Charitable Settlement, the ERA Foundation and The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, Siemens and BAE Systems.

Prospective students who are wishing to apply for a Diamond Jubilee Scholarship can apply online at www.theiet.org/diamond.

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7738 602426
Email: HKellett@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • The IET has a portfolio of awards which includes Diamond Jubilee scholarships, Apprentice and Technician awards, scholarships in India, the Present around the World competition, Innovation Awards, the Young Woman Engineer of the Year awards and the IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize. 
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 163,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.