Sir Richard Olver FREng, former Chairman of BAE Systems, is to be awarded one of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s most prestigious awards, the President’s Medal, for his exceptional contributions to the Academy’s work, particularly in engineering education. He will receive the award from Academy President, Dame Ann Dowling DBE FREng FRS, at the Academy's Awards Dinner in London on 16 July.

Sir Richard joins a select number of recipients of this award, including nuclear engineering expert Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng, renowned architect Jim Eyre OBE, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design Sir Jonathan Ive KBE RDI FREng and the late Professor Tony Kelly CBE DL FREng FRS, widely regarded as the father of composite materials. 

Sir Richard, a Fellow of the Academy since 2005, has been a champion for engineering education and skills. From 2009 to 2014 he was been chair of the Education for Engineering (E4E) Policy Group, an alliance bringing together the UK’s 36 Engineering Institutions, the Engineering Council, EngineeringUK and the Academy to provide a single voice to government on all education policy affecting engineering.

Under his leadership, E4E’s work became widely acknowledged and government has commended its work, which included tackling the paucity of data on engineering in the Further Education (FE) sector. Sir Richard’s representation to government enabled E4E to access FE databases - the first time they had been made publicly available. He also pushed the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to drive increases in engineering advanced (level 3) apprenticeships.

Sir Richard highlighted to the Prime Minister that school performance measures did not include the Engineering Diploma because of the teaching time required. This resulted in government asking the Academy to develop a more versatile suite of engineering qualifications covering the same curriculum, which are now a central component of University Technical Colleges and will be adopted by many other schools.

His work with E4E also resulted in government asking E4E to advise on the redrafting of the Design & Technology curriculum to embed engineering throughout the teaching of this subject for ages five to 14. Every child in England is now studying this new curriculum.

Sir Richard has also taken a leading role in promoting the Academy and its work and in extending its networks. He joined the Academy’s Making things better Campaign Board in 2007 and played a pivotal role in successfully raising funds for the Forum for Engineering capital project and for the expansion of the Academy’s education and engagement activities. Until recently, he has also chaired the Engineering the Future alliance of professional engineering institutions and the Academy’s Development Advisory Board.

Prior to his role at BAE Systems, Sir Richard was Deputy Group Chief Executive of BP PLC after more than 30 years at the company. He became a Managing Director of the Company and CEO of BP Exploration in 1997. After leaving the Board in 2004, he became Deputy Chairman of TNKBP/BP until 2007. A past Non-Executive Director of Reuters and Thomson Reuters and a member of The Business Council for Britain, he is now a member of Prime Minster David Cameron's Business Advisory Group and serves as a UK Business Ambassador for the UK. He is also a Senior Advisor to CD&R and HSBC.

Sir Richard was awarded Non-Executive Director of the year sponsored by the Sunday Times in 2011 and in 2013 was knighted for his contribution to Business and to UK Corporate Governance.

Sir Richard Olver FREng said: "I am honoured and privileged to receive this generous award. As with most successful things in human endeavour, they are the result of many people's efforts. I would like to recognise the wonderful staff that worked with me over the last decade at the Royal Academy of Engineering and at BAE Systems PLC"

Academy President Dame Ann Dowling said: “The Academy has benefited greatly from Sir Richard’s invaluable support over many years.

“He has been instrumental in the success of some of our most important initiatives that have improved the quality and the status of UK engineering education, as an engineer, a Fellow of the Academy and as Chair of Education for Engineering.”

Notes for Editors

  1. The President’s Medal is awarded to an Academy Fellow who has contributed significantly to the organisation’s aims and work through their initiative in promoting excellence in engineering.

  2. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.

For further information, please contact:

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering
T: 02077660636
E:   Jane Sutton

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