POSTED 06.02.17

For those considering a career in engineering, it is common to finish A-levels, head off to university, study for three or four years to receive a degree, and then go out into the world of work.

Degrees for most students are funded by a loan from Student Finance, which you go on to pay back after graduation based on earnings. This loan will consist of a tuition loan for the course and a maintenance loan for living costs. More information on this can be found by following this link.

There are also post-graduate degrees, which aren’t funded by Student Finance and therefore, students have to find alternate methods of funding their studies, often either through personal finances or through a sponsorship with a company.

It’s not unusual for undergraduate students to go into their overdraft during university, making the prospect of post-graduate study financially daunting. Often students will need a part-time job to subsidise their maintenance loan, let alone completely fund their own tuition and living costs.

There is, however, another way for students to find additional support whilst studying. This can be through either a bursary, scholarship, or industry award. We’ve taken a look at some of the possible routes students with an eye on finances can explore.

University Bursary and Scholarships

Many people can be unsure about the difference between bursaries and scholarships. Bursaries are normally awarded based on an individual’s circumstances, whereas scholarships are mostly awarded based on academic achievement.

It’s common for Universities to make certain bursaries available for students who come from low-income backgrounds. This usually means tested and can be found through individual universities’ websites. The same is true of scholarships but can vary depending on the particular subject focus.

Many institutions may also offer bursaries and scholarships through partnerships with other companies. Take this bursary at the University of Lincoln offered by Siemens as an example. Not only would the successful student(s) receive a financial award but they would also have the opportunity to form a relationship with a company that could give them a successful and rewarding career.

Another example of a bursary is this competition, going to show that there is always another way for a student to fund their degree, or for a graduate to fund their studies.

Company and Institution Bursaries and Scholarships

On top of universities awarding bursaries and scholarships, institutions like the IMechE and IET also award funding. See the links below for some of those available. There is a whole host of opportunities available for application on just some of the links below:

https://www.imeche.org/careers-education/scholarships-and-awards/all-scholarships-and-awards

http://conferences.theiet.org/achievement/scholarships/undergraduate/grants-index.cfm

http://www.scholars4dev.com/category/field-of-study/engineering-scholarships/

http://www.raeng.org.uk/grants-and-prizes

Industrial Placement Years

It is also important not to forget industrial placement years. Students can go on industrial placement years to go and work for a company full time for a year. Students studying on a BEng course can go on one in between their second and third years. Alternatively, students on a MEng course can go on one in between their third and fourth years.

Placement years give students the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in the workplace whilst also earning some money. Students can learn how to put in to practice what they learn in a lecture theatre, but also learn things which they otherwise wouldn’t be taught in a lecture theatre.

This may be a particular subject within engineering, or it may be how to conduct themselves in a meeting. Another advantage of a placement year is that at the end of the year, the student may be given the opportunity to go back to that company after they graduate.

If you are an undergraduate student and want to do a placement year, EASL are currently accepting applications for an industrial placement student to join us for a year. If you would like to read about a past student’s experience of their placement year, you can find it here.

To apply for the placement, please send a CV and covering letter to [email protected]

Get in touch