The UKESF has announced industry backing from 25 leading electronics companies to fund up to 65 scholarships for elite electronics engineering undergraduate students for the 2014/15 academic year. Since the launch of UKESF, employers from the electronics industry have awarded a total of 174 UKESF scholarships, backed by over £1 million investment.
The increase to 65 scholarships on offer this coming academic year shows a 120 per cent rise, as well as an increase of 200 per cent in the number of companies engaged with the scholarship programme, since the inaugural year.
Employer funded scholarships run throughout the students’ degrees and include bursaries, paid work experience, industrial mentoring and professional development workshops designed to accelerate the skills development of fledgling electronics engineers at the beginning of their career. Students studying electronic engineering degrees at any of the 13 UKESF university partners will be able to apply for scholarships with one of 25 employers, including industry partners and founders ARM, AWE, Imagination Technologies, CSR, Dialog Semiconductor, Thales and XMOS.
“The scholarships are a way of exciting and encouraging young people into an electronics engineering career and of ensuring a future pipeline of talented engineers.” commented Rebecca Fradley-Stokes, Head of CSR, Sustainability and University Relations at Dialog Semiconductor. “In addition, the programme also gives us access to the brightest degree students early on and is a fantastic recruitment tool for companies like Dialog. This is invaluable for a rapidly growing company like ours which has to strive for excellence at every stage to support its expansion into exciting new products and markets.”
Whilst UCAS data show a significant rise in the overall demand for engineering and technology courses since 2002, UKESF is addressing a 26 per cent drop in British applicants to electrical and electronic engineering courses between 2002 and 20131. The Electronics Systems industry report for government2, ESCO, stated that electronic systems underpin many of the world’s economic activities across almost all sectors, and act as an enabler in a host of other sectors, such as education and healthcare. The UK electronics industry has the potential to contribute £120 billion to the UK economy by 2020 providing 1 million jobs, and whilst recognising industry’s role as a critical enabler to support and achieve the ambition for growth, the report also highlights skills shortages as the most common challenge.
Indro Mukerjee, Chairman of the UKESF Strategic Advisory Board, said, “We’re really pleased that the number of companies engaging with UKESF and offering scholarships continues to increase. At the same time, it’s important that we keep focused and aim to get even more industry engagement to drive an interest in electronics engineering from school to employment.”