Student awarded prestigious engineering scholarship

A former UTC Reading student, Charlotte Austen, has been awarded a sought-after Arkwright Engineering scholarship – the first student from UTC Reading to do so!

Charlotte Austen

16-year-old Charlotte, who specialised in engineering, went up against thousands of students to be in with a chance of winning the scholarship in a rigorous selection process which involved a technical exam and an interview.

Arkwright Scholarships are awarded to high-calibre students aiming to be future leaders of the engineering profession.

The scholarship provides funding to support the purchase of materials for school or personal projects, as well as pairing pupils with a mentor. Pupils are also given the opportunity to attend exclusive events offering an insight into different sectors of industry and academia.

Every scholarship is company sponsored, meaning that support is offered in ways such as work experience, support for a curriculum project and a personal mentor. Charlotte’s sponsor is the Worshipful Company of Fuellers, which works within the energy industry.

This is an especially good match because the company’s current drive is to ‘assist and advise on how best to reduce carbon emissions while maintaining the future energy needs required for industrial and domestic use’, which ties nicely with Charlotte’s ambition to go into chemical engineering in the sustainability and renewables sector.

Charlotte, who has gone on to study chemistry, environmental science and philosophy at Henley College said: “I am proud of winning the scholarship and applied because I really wanted a clear route into engineering. I wanted some sort of extracurricular activity that meant that I had the freedom to do projects on my own that I had the funding for and also to expand my knowledge.”

She says her engineering background and experience of working with employers (which is one of the key differences between UTCs and mainstream secondary schools) definitely gave her the edge at the interview.

“The project days I’ve done, work and interview experience and working on real life problems gave me the experience to know what I was doing and talking about in the exam.”

And for the practical exam [interviewees were given a brief to create three technical drawing designs] Charlotte was in her element.

“You had to label everything, show the processes of how the mechanism would work, name the materials… I knew the different techniques as we’d been practising in class so I just applied that.

“But actually, it was definitely the practice exams I did beforehand that helped the most.”

Charlotte was helped with her practice exams by UTC Reading’s Jamie Chandler, Director of Design, Engineering and Technology (DET), and in recognition of his support, Charlotte invited him to accompany her and her family to the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in London where she accepted her scholarship at an awards ceremony.

Jamie said: “A well-deserved outcome for a very talented young female engineer. I’d like to wish her good luck with her future studies and I cannot wait to see the amazing and world-changing developments she works on in her career.”

Charlotte was the first student from UTC Reading to apply for the scholarship and her success has inspired 13 students and counting from this year to apply!

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