Plant & Works Engineering

Land Rover calls for female students to apply for engineering bursary

Published:  02 September, 2013

Land Rover and WISE have recently called for female students to apply for its Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship, a £9000 bursary for young women who have completed their GCSEs or A Levels and wish to study an engineering degree or apprenticeship.  The bursary will be awarded to three female students or apprentices who would like to explore a career or further studies in engineering.  In addition the winners will be provided with mentoring support from both Land Rover senior engineers and WISE representatives.  Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock MP, welcomed the initiative.

In May this year, Zara Phillips, whose Grandmother the Queen worked as a mechanical engineer in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) launched the campaign at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Zara spoke about how inspiring both her Grandmother and her mother were in encouraging young women to consider a career in engineering. The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, joined the ATS at her own insistence in 1945, aged 18. Having enlisted as a Subaltern, the Queen progressed by the end of the war to the rank of Junior Commander after completing course No. 1 at the Mechanical Training Centre of the ATS. As part of her training to become a fully qualified driver, the then Princess had to learn how to fix a car, including changing the wheel and basic engine maintenance.

Princess Anne is the patron of WISE which helps organisations to inspire women and girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as pathways to exciting and fulfilling careers. 

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, a problem Land Rover is determined to address. In addition to the Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship, Land Rover already runs specific training schemes to support ambitious female engineers.

Talking about the campaign, Zara said: “The UK has a rich heritage of women in engineering, encouraged by the success of the ATS. I’m delighted to be supporting the Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship which provides young women with the opportunity to progress their career. In the Three Day Eventing world, I compete equally with men and enjoy the challenge. In fact, on the Olympic team there was actually only one man and we all made a great team.  There are equal opportunities for both men and women to succeed in engineering and now is an exciting time to get involved.”

Nicci Cook, Senior HR Manager, from Land Rover said: “Land Rover has a proud tradition of encouraging diversity in the workplace. Engineering is at the very heart of our business and we rely on a broad range of talents to give us a competitive edge and help us move forwards. We hope that the Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship will inspire a new generation of women in engineering.”

The funding for the Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship has come from the 2012 MacRobert Award, which was presented to Land Rover for the Range Rover Evoque.  The MacRobert Award is the premier UK award for engineering.  The judges credited the ingenuity of the Land Rover engineers who succeeded in packaging key components under the vehicle floor, "with millimetre accuracy”.

The scholarship is the first key activity to be announced using the funding from the award.  The remainder of the fund will be used to expand Land Rover’s Inspiring Tomorrow's Engineers 4x4 schools challenge into a global initiative – allowing schools around the world the opportunity to explore engineering as a career option.

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 scholarship has also been welcomed by government. Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock MP, said: “Britain needs more engineers from a diverse range of backgrounds to compete effectively in today’s world. The government is delighted that the Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship recognises the key role played by female engineers and hopes that it will encourage more women to pursue a career in this exciting, dynamic industry.”