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An interview with Jiyaa on the Arkwright scholarship

CLSG student accepting the Arkwright scholarship

Jiyaa in year 12 was recently awarded a prestigious Arkwright scholarship. This encompasses an annual financial award alongside enrichment activities like mentoring and industry conferences, providing her a tangible understanding of engineering in real-world contexts.


Why did you apply for the Arkwright Scholarship?

I am passionate about product design and have an interest in how everyday objects work. This led to me choosing design & technology at GCSE. Through this, I learnt about the Arkwright Scholarship in year 11, and applied after doing research about the benefits of the scholarship and hearing advice from older students. The scholarship is a prestigious award given to approximately 300 students from all over UK. It was an amazing opportunity to explore the field of engineering further and have mentoring from industry professionals which will benefit my career.


Who would you recommend applies for the Arkwright Scholarship?

I recommend applying for the scholarship if you have an interest in maths and physics and want to explore the field of engineering as a potential career path. You will learn a lot about engineering during the application process and further research, which is incredibly insightful. It will be worth all the hard work in the end!


Which subjects are you studying at A level?

Maths, further maths, physics and chemistry. Not only do I enjoy these subjects, but these are also recommended for many engineering courses at university. Alternatively, some students can choose Computer Science or Design & Technology as their fourth option instead of Chemistry.


What does the Arkwright Scholarship application process consist of?

The process starts with an online application form that asks about your engineering interests and any recent projects you may have completed. I wrote about my GCSE design and technology project, where I designed a portable, detachable phone holder with a storage compartment, incentivising the use of bike schemes. I was asked about my future plans, my current co-curricular activities and leadership roles.

Following the application is an engineering exam. You will be given a choice of questions from which you have to sketch product designs to solve the issue given using different mechanisms and processes, with annotations of material suggestions. At this stage, you don’t need to have in-depth knowledge of every engineering process to create a suitable idea. Marks aren’t heavily affected by your drawing skills, but rather how you communicate your design thinking and creativity through your annotations and unique idea generation.

Finally, for the interview, simply ensure that you know your application thoroughly and have progressed in the project you have mentioned in the application. I talked about the completion of my GCSE DT project and demonstrated how it worked during the interview. I also made a short PowerPoint presentation on the project’s progress.


What tips would you give to pupils going through the process?

In the application, show a true passion for engineering; you may want to help solve current problems society is facing such as climate change, and have role models that you look up to. Be well-researched and display your knowledge of engineering processes.

I would highly recommend looking at the exemplar past papers on the website to familiarise yourself with the exam format. Also start using creativity to solve everyday issues you notice to practise for the exam.  

Finally, doing some extra engineering reading is encouraged; there are many resources online and books to choose from based on your interests. I read articles on how engineering is helping solve environmental and social issues during natural calamities and conflicts, which was a good topic of discussion during my interview.


What does the Arkwright Scholarship consist of and what help do you receive once you gain it?

Once you pass the interview round, you are matched with a sponsor who will fund your scholarship. You are also provided with a mentor in the field of engineering you are interested in, so for me, this was a mechanical engineer.

You are also given £330 for each of the two years of your scholarship to use to buy equipment needed for any engineering projects you do at home. Universities are incredibly keen to see what super-curricular activities you are doing, and these engineering projects are a great way to stand out.

Finally, you are emailed in advance about university open days, work experience opportunities and connect days which are amazing opportunities to take advantage of, as they are very insightful and can definitely be used on personal statements or university applications.


What are your ambitions post-CLSG?

I plan to study general engineering, then specialise in mechanical or mechatronics engineering. Many universities mention that the Arkwright Scholarship is an excellent super-curricular, so it can really benefit your application.