Last week two things I feel pretty strongly about converged – my passion for more female engineers and my love of the Land Rover Evoque (still my favourite car) when Zara Phillips launched the Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship.
This new scholarship programme from WISE (otherwise known as Women in Science and Engineering) and Land Rover will provide a £9,000 bursary to three female students or apprentices who would like to explore a career or further studies in engineering. In addition the winners will also be provided with mentoring support from both Land Rover senior engineers and WISE representatives.
It is a bit bizarre that Zara Phillips is fronting the campaign being more inclined towards equestrian activities than engineering ones, and chose the Royal Windsor Horse Show last week in which to announce the scholarship but then I guess her mom, Princess Anne, is a patron of WISE.
In a video, which you can watch below, Zara Phillips speaks about how inspiring both her grandmother (a.k.a. The Queen) and her mother were during World War Two. The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) at her own insistence in 1945, aged 18. As part of her training to become a fully qualified driver, she had to learn how to fix a car, including changing the wheel and basic engine maintenance. It wasn’t just her either, with men away fighting in the war many women took on engineering roles.
Ms Phillips laments at how engineering has since fallen out of favour as a career choice for many young women. In fact, according to a report published by EngineeringUK, Britain needs to double the number of engineering graduates and triple the number of engineering apprentices by 2020 to meet industry needs. At present, just thirteen per cent of engineering undergraduates are female.
Speaking about the Scholarship, WISE director Helen Wollaston said:
“The greatest British brands emerged through creativity, innovation and passion – all qualities which shine through all the female engineers I have met, but at the moment, there are far too few of them. This new scholarship offers a really good start for a young woman entering the engineering profession. The industry needs to attract more female talent; this is a wonderful opportunity to do just that.”
The Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship is open to any woman who has arranged an engineering based apprenticeship or has a confirmed place on a higher education engineering course. For more information and to apply visit www.inspiringtomorrowsengineers.com