Inspiring the next generation.


The Arkwright Scholarship.

Catriona Reid

Catriona Reid is a Graduate Fire Engineer in our London office. She recently visited Brunel University to interview school children for an Arkwright Scholarship, which she had previously received in 2010. The scholarship pairs successful candidates with engineering firms who provide funding, mentoring and work experience opportunities. Scholarships are awarded to 15-16 year old students who are considered likely to become engineering leaders in the future.

Here are Catriona’s thoughts on the scholarship, as well as how engineering is perceived by students:

As an Arkwright scholarship alumnus, I was invited back this year to help interview potential candidates. Those who reached the interview stage had already written an essay and taken a design aptitude test, providing three different solutions to a design problem alongside a critical evaluation. It was inspiring to see just how many talented young people are out there and the raw potential they have.

One trend I noticed was a passion for problem solving, a surprisingly astute understanding of what the end-user needs and a real desire to improve people’s lives. Most of the students still weren’t sure what engineering route to take, but their motivation was palpable and you could tell that they really were potential future leaders in engineering.

I have Arkwright to thank for where I am now. At 16 I wanted to be an architect, but when I came down to London to receive my scholarship I visited Mercedes Benz World. It was then that I decided Mechanical Engineering would suit me better. During my studies I found out more about the variety of engineering out there and in my final year, I had a course in fire engineering that really piqued my interest.

Reflecting back on my time at school, engineering was hardly ever mentioned and this is something that I desperately want to change. I know that it’s already improving, but I think it’s crucial that the industry raises its profile and I am passionate about showing students how wide and interesting a sector it is. I think that Hoare Lea should continue to get into schools with the STEM ambassador scheme, reaching out to young people to break down any stigmas and educating them about our industry.

They may be children and teenagers now, but in a few years, they could be the future engineers of Hoare Lea.