Engineering Leadership Advanced Award

Congratulations to the Department’s third year undergraduate, Neil Alliston (Worcester College), for receiving one of this year’s Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) "Engineering Leadership Advanced Awards".

RAE “Engineering Leadership Advanced Awards” provide support and motivation to some of the most exceptional engineering undergraduates in UK universities. They are highly prestigious and the Academy awards no more than 40 in any one year. These Awards ‘help those who want to become leadership role models for the next generation of engineers to undertake an accelerated personal development programme’.

The Award will enable Neil to acquire the skills needed to move into an engineering leadership position in UK industry soon after graduation.

Neil AllistonNeil said: “Apart from the award of £5,000, this has given me an opportunity to really think about what I want to do. In the past, I’ve tried to gain as much work experience as I could - partly to get something for my CV and to try out future jobs, but also to make a bit of money in the holidays. I’ve worked for a big precision-measurement company called Renishaw, for a company that makes titanium bicycles, and a summer in South Africa and Botswana, manufacturing and installing wind-pumps. Last summer I worked for a product development consultancy called Sagentia”.

After my degree, I think I'd quite like to get on a graduate scheme at a big company like BP or Shell, because they really invest in training and development for their graduates. I also really enjoyed the variety that R&D consultancies offer, so I haven’t ruled that out”.

RAE award winners 2012
Winners of the RAE Engineering Leadership Advanced Awards
He added: “This summer I spent some of my Award money working for a company in Cambridge - the money helped pay for my accommodation as I was away from home for ten weeks. I also attended the Royal Academy of Engineering weekend. We had a few interactive sessions, talks from both leaders of industry and new graduates who had received this Award. I also had a chance to meet other students from across the country with similar interests and ambitions”.

Every Engineering Leadership Award holder is also allocated a Sainsbury Management Fellow as a personal mentor. It is their job to offer informal advice to Awardees on their personal development and career options. The Sainsbury Management Fellowships is a scheme that has been run for a number of years by the RAE to enable high-flying Chartered Engineers to study for an MBA at an international business school.

Neil, who started reading Engineering Science at the Department, said: “I always knew that if I got at least a 2:1 in my first year, I’d try and switch to the Engineering, Economics and Management (EEM) course… I’ve always been interested in the commercial side of things. For my third year project, I’m part of a team that is designing a hybrid ‘Formula Student’ racing car. It’s a new project for this year, and it was the one that I really wanted, as I’ve always been a big F1 fan.

Neil also gained an IET (the Institution of Engineering and Technology) scholarship before he started his degree at Oxford.  He has this piece of advice for anyone embarking on an Engineering course: “I did some Google-ing to find out if there was any financial support available for engineering undergraduates. From this, I found that the IET was offering a number of scholarships. I filled in an application form online and then went to an interview in London. I really recommend going for it.  They also offer grants for students going into their second, third and final year – plus, the money is yours to spend however you want. The money has helped me get through University, especially given that the student loan only just covers accommodation, it’s really useful to have a bit of extra support.