Balfour Beatty engineer Rob Youlten has enjoyed working on the Kings Cross Northern ticket hall for the past year. Now a prestigious bursary from The Royal Academy of Engineering will enable him to spend a year studying water management at Cranfield University. Ultimately he aims to work overseas on community water projects.

The £8,000 Angus Paton Bursary will pay for Rob to take an MSc course in water and wastewater engineering, a subject that has fascinated him since he spent a year on secondment from Balfour Beatty in Johannesburg in 2005. He worked on water management for two large collieries and evaluated the stability of a sand sea wall for a diamond mine in Namibia.

“This is a great opportunity to change direction as I’ve just finished four years’ training with Balfour Beatty to become a Chartered Engineer,” says Rob, aged 27. “I’ve worked on some good projects here like the Heathrow Terminal 5 spur road and widening of the M25 but the work I did in South Africa gave me a real interest in water engineering.”

A keen skier and ultimate frisbee player, Rob sang in a barbershop octet while doing his first degree at Cambridge University. He is also involved in RedR (Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief) and helped to run Contact, a student charity for elderly people.

Balfour Beatty have scored a double hit as this year’s other Angus Paton Bursary goes to Nick Warren, an engineering student who was sharing an office with Rob Youlten during a summer placement at the company this year. Nick has just been awarded a first-class degree in civil engineering from the University of Surrey and his £8,000 bursary will enable him to transfer straight onto Surrey’s MSc course in water and environmental engineering.

“I’m really interested in emergency water supply since I did a project last year on the Oxfam upflow clarifier,” says Nick, 22. “I’d like to do more research on this system during my MSc.”

Nick is another man of action, currently in training for Tough Guy, an eight-mile endurance course. He organised his university’s Vertical Marathon 2007 which raised £6,000 for charity.

Notes for editors

  1. The Sir Angus Paton Bursary is a scholarship awarded annually to an engineer enrolled on a full-time approved Masters degree course related to the environment.
  2. The late Sir Angus Paton CMG made this scholarship possible through an endowment to the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1986. He was a Fellow of both the Academy and the Royal Society. As one of the UK’s most distinguished civil engineers, he was in charge of many overseas engineering projects, including the giant Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River and the Indus Basin project in Pakistan.
  3. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering