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Academy and Amazon launch new bursary scheme to support social mobility among women students

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  • Expansion of Amazon Future Engineer bursary scheme will support women students from low-income households studying computer science and related engineering courses at UK universities

The Royal Academy of Engineering is working with Amazon to launch a new Amazon Future Engineer bursary scheme in the UK. Twelve awards, worth £5,000 a year for up to four years, will be made available to students progressing from A level or technical education courses to university for the 2021/22 academic year. The new bursaries will help students who demonstrate a drive and passion for computing and engineering, and an understanding of how innovation and creativity in these fields can help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Women are still significantly underrepresented in engineering and technology in higher education. UCAS data on university application and acceptance figures for the 2020 cycle highlighted that women represent just 16% and 18% of accepted applications to computing and engineering degrees respectively. At the current rate of progress, parity of women in engineering degrees will not be achieved until 2085.

Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “The Academy and Amazon share an ambition to inspire and support young people to become the next generation of engineers, and I welcome the opportunity to work together in encouraging more women and girls from all backgrounds to take up careers in engineering and computing. We need a greater diversity of views and experiences working within these professions if we are to come up with effective solutions to the many challenges that society faces. At the current rate of progress, to achieve the same number of women as men on degree courses for these subjects would take another 74 years. We simply cannot afford to wait that long.”

“Our new bursary scheme with the Royal Academy of Engineering will help more women become the innovation leaders of the UK” said John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “More needs to be done to encourage women to enter these fields and break down barriers that students face. The Amazon Future Engineer bursary scheme is just one of the ways that we are helping to increase the representation of women in the UK innovation economy and exciting careers in computer science.”

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Amazon Future Engineer bursaries are open to students enrolling onto courses such as electrical and electronic engineering, computer science, artificial intelligence and software engineering in the UK. The bursaries will focus on areas of the UK that have been identified as social mobility cold spots—places in the country where opportunities and outcomes for young people need improving. Awardees will be invited to attend annual networking and training weekends and will have access to a community forum providing support from the Royal Academy of Engineering and Amazon. They will also receive news of available internships, as well as mentoring and funding to help them progress from university into engineering and computing careers.

The bursary scheme is part of Amazon Future Engineer, Amazon’s comprehensive childhood-to-career programme to inspire, educate and enable children and young adults from lower-income backgrounds to try computer science and related engineering courses.

Notes for Editors

  1. UCAS data on university application and acceptance figures for the 2020 cycle published on ucas.com, 4 February 2021: ‘Students turn to technology with university choices’ – https://www.ucas.com/corporate/news-and-key-documents/news/students-turn-technology-university-choices
  2. Applications for bursaries for academic year 2021/2022 can be made via the Royal Academy of Engineering here: www.raeng.org.uk/afebursary
  3. As part of Amazon’s commitment to developing the next generation of engineers and computer scientists, Amazon are also supporting a number of Royal Academy of Engineering initiatives, including the national Connecting STEM Teachers programme; a support network for teachers across all STEM subjects that ensures they have the knowledge and confidence to engage a greater number and wider spectrum of school students with STEM. The programme works with 1,000 schools and operates across all regions of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  4. Amazon also support This is Engineeringa campaign that brings engineering to life for young people, giving more of them the opportunity to pursue a career that is rewarding, future-shaping, varied, well-paid and in-demand.
  5. About Amazon: Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion or invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalised recommendations, Prime, Fulfilment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit aboutamazon.co.uk and follow @AmazonNewsUK.
  6. About Amazon in the Community: Amazon has long been committed to communities where our employees live and work and we focus on building long-term, innovative, and high impact programmes that leverage Amazon’s unique assets and culture. We want all children and young adults to have the resources and skills to build their best future. We concentrate on “right now needs” – via programmes that address hunger, homelessness, and disaster relief efforts – as well as programmes like Amazon Future Engineer, designed to inspire and excite children and young adults from underrepresented communities to pursue careers in the rapidly growing field of computer science.
  7. The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.

Media enquiries to Pippa Cox at the Royal Academy of Engineering: E: [email protected]; T: 020 7766 0645

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