A new funding scheme for masters students hopes to give the UK's aerospace sector a boost

Masters funding scheme boosts aerospace industry

Hundreds of graduates could receive financial assistance to study masters in aerospace engineering.

The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) is offering 500 ambitious employees and new graduates the chance to win funding through a competition, which opens today, being run in collaboration with the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Funded by government and the UK aerospace industry, £6m has been provided to recruit talented people who want to build careers in aerospace, but need financial backing to study at Masters level.

The scheme is part of the Aerospace Growth Partnership, which aims to tackle barriers to growth, boosting exports and increasing the number of high value jobs in the UK.

Chief executive of the RAEng Philip Greenish said: “Strengthening the supply of skilled people in key areas of technology such as aerospace engineering is essential for a sustainable economic recovery and to ensure that the UK continues to be a leader in advanced design and manufacturing.

“This programme will make a swift and positive impact on the industry, which needs people with the high level engineering skills provided by UK universities. The men and women who pass through the scheme will go on to work at the cutting-edge of aviation.”

The scheme will support the up-skilling of current aerospace employees already qualified to graduate level and BSc students currently studying at university, through a bursary to cover the cost of tuition fees up to a maximum of £9,500.

Students will be encouraged to make direct links with aerospace businesses to undertake projects to address the challenges faced by industry, and secure opportunities for work experience and future employment.

UK companies sponsoring the scheme are BAE Systems, Bombardier Aerospace Belfast, EADS/Airbus, Finmeccanica UK, GKN, MBDA Missile Systems, Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, Rolls-Royce and Spirit AeroSystems.

The Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Aeronautical Society will run the competition process and will test the need for the award and the commitment to work in the aerospace sector through the application and interview process.

Business Secretary the Vince Cable said: “There is a serious shortage of engineers in the UK. Our aerospace industry is a world-leader, but unless we create a new generation of engineers we’ll struggle to keep ahead of the competition.  

“Today’s announcement will help us meet this demand. The funding will train some of the brightest and best, widening access to the industry to talented people from all backgrounds.”

The process will seek to enable a more diverse range of people to reach Chartered Engineer status and to work in the aerospace sector.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of aerospace, defence, security and space trade organisation, ADS Group, said: “Investment in developing world class skills is critical for the future of the UK aerospace industry. This joint commitment of funding from government and industry to create this initiative is an important step – both in securing valuable high-level skills and in taking the successful Aerospace Growth Partnership forward.”

Extra support will be available for small and medium sizes enterprises – their employees will be eligible for a 75 per cent subsidy towards fees.  

For more information or to apply for MSc funding, visit www.raeng.org.uk/aeromsc

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