The Aerospace Masters Bursary Scheme, designed to keep the UK at the forefront of the global aerospace industry, has recruited its 500th student, Business Minister Anna Soubry announced today.

The Aerospace Masters Bursary Scheme, managed by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Aeronautical Society, is jointly funded by industry and government. The aerospace sector remains one of the UK’s success stories, and the scheme awards bursaries to study Masters (MSc) degrees in aerospace engineering, in order to help the UK meet its urgent requirement for more engineers.

Lowri Nicholls, aged 24 of North Wales, has been awarded the 500th Aerospace Masters bursary, fulfilling a commitment made by the Aerospace Growth Partnership to create an additional 500 MSc places. With a BSc in Mathematics already, she will study for an MSc in Materials Science and Engineering at Leeds University.

Lowri said: “UK Aerospace is recognised as being a front runner in the development of lightweight materials and heavily invests in the field. It would be the best place to learn and make an impact as a materials engineer, and has great opportunities for specialist employment within the sector.”

Since its launch by the Prime Minister in 2012 at the Farnborough International Air Show, the bursary scheme has been developing a pipeline of talented individuals looking for a career in aerospace who, but for the bursary, would have been unable to study at that level.

The scheme has an impressive list of business sponsors - Airbus, BAE Systems, Bombardier Aerospace (Belfast), Finmeccanica UK, GE Aviation, GKN, MBDA Missile Systems, Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, Rolls-Royce and Spirit AeroSystems. It has also been supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Enterprise and Learning in the Northern Ireland Administration.

Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “Aerospace is a sector where the UK has genuine world-leading capability. I want to capitalise on this so that we can win a big share of the $5.5trillion market for new aircraft which will be needed over the next 17 years. 

“This scheme is helping to ensure our aerospace industry gets the skills it needs to compete and grow and presents a great opportunity for people to build a highly skilled career.”

Dr Rhys Morgan, Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering said: “The UK is facing an unprecedented shortage of engineers over the next few years, but employers, government and the engineering profession have shown that, through working together, we can put in place initiatives that go a long way to addressing the skills needs of industry.”

Notes for Editors

  1. Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP). The AGP was established in 2013, and is one of the Government’s eleven Industrial Approaches. Through the AGP, industry and Government work together to focus resources on securing the long-term future of one of the UK’s most important, high tech sectors. The AGP has three key objectives: Ensure the UK remains Europe’s leading aircraft manufacturer, second only to the US; support companies at all levels of the supply chain; provide long-term certainty and stability in order to encourage investment in UK technologies for the next generation of aircraft. Winning strategic work on aerospace programmes creates long-term employment and anchors work in the UK’s industrial base. 
  2. AGP Skills Initiatives. Government and Industry have launched other initiatives to continue the development of talented young individuals looking for a career in aerospace. These include delivery of Apprenticeships, work experience and traineeships across the sector through the launched, 2-year long Employer Skills Programme. The Employer Skills Programme has also looked to up-skill the sector's current workforce through the design of specialist courses in areas identified as key capabilities to UK Aerospace such as Fatigue & Damage Tolerance, Fuel Systems, Landing Gear and Composites. Project Management and Knowledge Management Projects were launched to develop awareness and capability in these areas for improved company performance and accelerated learning. Companies interested in more information on these initiatives, or how they may benefit, should email  the AGP  or visit the  AGP website .
  3. 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 more information please contact:

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering
T: 020 7766 0636
E:  Jane Sutton