Diamond Days: Inside the IET’s Jubilee Scholarship programme

There aren’t too many professions that marry creativity with the prospect of making a real change to the world but as an engineer you’ll have opportunities to do just that.

Just ask Ceri Linton, an engineering student at Durham University and recipient of a Diamond Jubilee Scholarship, a programme that for the past four years has been providing beneficiaries with at least £1,000 per academic year.

By way of a recap, the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Diamond Jubilee Scholarships are awarded to successful applicants who:

  • Are UK residents
  • 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
  • Applying to join an IET accredited engineering or technology degree course

As well as a cash sum, winners also benefit from mentoring, work experience placements through the IET’s networks and sponsoring companies, and membership of the IET.

The Student Engineer gave Ceri a call to get the low-down on what she expects from a career in engineering and how the Diamond Jubilee Scholarship is helping her to realise those expectations.

Ceri Linton
Ceri Linton

You’re 19 and in your first year at Durham. It’s early days, but do you know what direction your career will go in?

In our engineering classes we have a design project [to make] a hydroelectric generator. I want to do similar stuff to that.

I’m not sure what I want to be doing [in my career] yet I but I know I want to focus on energy and the environment because I think its something that’s so relevant and important in the world at the moment. That’s the path I think I want to go down at the moment.

Siemens are sponsoring you through your scholarship. How do you feel about the prospect of work experience with an engineering giant like that?

It’s truly exciting to be working with a big name. Its just really good experience [as] practical experience is really hard to come by. That’s really important.

You’re keen to see more women – and indeed more young people in general – enter engineering. How will the scholarship help in that respect?

I appreciate that there aren’t that many women in engineering and that’s something I’m quite passionate about.

The name of the IET makes what I want to do a bit more official. [Also] at university we have something called Engineers Without Borders, so you can go into schools and encourage young people to go into engineering, not just girls but people in general because there are so few engineers in the UK at the moment and I think that’s a really important thing to do.

Why aren’t more young women pursuing physics?

The problem is before A levels…I think 50 per cent of schools in the UK don’t have any girls doing A level physics which is just insane to be honest, so I think you have to catch them [girls] at GCSE in order that they’re taking the right A Levels. A lot of girls take maths but not necessarily the physics and design subjects and I think catching them earlier would be a key thing to do.

But how would you do that?

[By] Making people aware of what engineering actually involves [and that it is] a really important thing to do. I wasn’t really aware of what engineering was until quite late on, so [it means] making sure that people don’t think of it as mechanics [and that] kind of thing.

Did any of your teachers influence your choice of degree?

My A level physics teacher. He recognised…that I was good at maths and physics and I wasn’t really sure what degree to do, so he really pushed me to take part in the Engineering Education Scheme, which to be honest is the reason I’m at university studying engineering. Without his encouragement I don’t think I’d be here to be honest.

Finally, what is it about engineering that makes you want to study the subject and potentially practise it as a career?

One of the things I quite like about engineering is that although it relies on maths and physics…it’s a very creative subject that allows people who are logic thinkers be creative and I thing that’s a really great thing.

Thanks Ceri!

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