Land Rover have unveiled their second annual scholarship scheme in an effort to boost the number of women in the UK engineering workforce.
Currently, only four per cent of registered engineers in Britain are female, which the company is aiming to change in partnership with WISE, an organisation dedicated to increasing gender balance within science and technology-based career paths.
The Range Rover Evoque Women in Science and Engineering scholarship programme will sponsor two female students who will receive £1,000 a year towards studies for three years, plus offer practical support through a mentoring programme as well as hands-on experience with a summer placement at Jaguar Land Rover in Warwickshire.
The funding programme is naturally aimed at young women starting engineering courses or apprenticeships in the UK and also looks to bolster female participation in subjects including science, technology and maths.
Backed by Zara Phillips in the footsteps of the Queen
This will be the second year that Land Rover rolls out the scholarship, after it was launched last year by Zara Phillips, who spoke about following in the footsteps of her grandmother the Queen, who joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service at her own insistence in 1945 and trained as a driver and mechanic before rising to the rank of junior commander.
Nicci Cook, Jaguar Land Rover Senior HR Manager, Product Creation & Delivery comments: “Last year we had such an overwhelming response and we are delighted to be opening the scholarship again in 2014. 11 per cent of current JLR engineers are female, which demonstrates the positive impact our women in engineering programmes including the Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship are having engaging and supporting young women as they pursue engineering careers.”
She continued: “Through programmes such as the scholarship, Jaguar Land Rover is looking to contribute to the national aspirations to double the number of women studying engineering and technology degrees at undergraduate level by 2030; boost the number of women pursuing careers in engineering and technology; and increase the number of young people studying mathematics and physics at 18.”
It’s not just a scholarship on offer
In addition to the scholarship, Jaguar Land Rover also organised school programmes and last year 248,000 young people took part in Jaguar Land Rover school STEM challenges, of which more than a third were female. Overall, the company’s award-winning ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers’ education programme has engaged more than one million young people in the UK over the past decade.
The first beneficiary of the scholarship, 19-year old Harriet Vickers from Spalding in Lincolnshire said: “The support that the Scholarship has given me over the past year has been fantastic. In addition to the financial aid, having access to a mentor with a wealth of experience in the world of engineering has been invaluable. I’m now planning my work placement at Jaguar Land Rover and am looking forward to getting stuck into some more practical work over the summer”.
Not the first ever manufacturer scholarship
This isn’t the first time that a car manufacturer has delved into scholarship schemes in an effort to encourage students either; in 2011 Ford offered £10,000 in grants to students as part of its Blue Oval scheme, and in October of last year, Fiat launched its Two of a Kind project aimed at encouraging would-be designers.
Earlier in May, Jaguar Land Rover also pledged its support to Your Life, a national government campaign set up to outline national ambitions for greater participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics amongst women. Potential candidates for the scholarship scheme can apply on the campaign’s official website.