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Prestigious Wood scholarship awarded to engineering 'star of the future'

A student and man standing against a banner

A female engineering student has been awarded a sought after scholarship for the University of Strathclyde from a global project management, engineering, consulting and technical services provider.

Kayleigh Dart has won a Wood Scholarship, which is worth around £5,000 a year, and provides four years of sponsorship and paid summer placements alongside professional engineers.

The 17-year-old applied to Strathclyde through the University’s Engineering Academy, and as part of the programme will spend the first year at New College Lanarkshire in Motherwell completing an enhanced HNC with practical skills.

The Engineering Academy - a collaboration between Strathclyde, partner colleges and the engineering industry - offers an alternative route into university and employment. It aims to increase widening access participation by delivering various pathways to a range of engineering degrees in the Faculty of Engineering. 

Colin Frew, an engineering manager based in Wood’s Bellshill office, met with Kayleigh, who is a former pupil of Airdrie Academy, Lanarkshire, along with representatives of the local college and North Lanarkshire Council, to formalise the scholarship.

Kayleigh said: “I joined my secondary school’s robotics team at age 13 and had little understanding of the opportunities it would bring for my future in terms of an engineering career.

“I then spent three years competing in VEX Robotics Competitions through New College Lanarkshire, which inspired me to apply to the Engineering Academy at Strathclyde.

“My journey with The Engineering Academy so far has been fantastic, and I would recommend this education pathway to any students pursuing a career in engineering.

“A placement with a major company such as Wood is an invaluable experience. I’m looking forward to my first placement this summer and would like to thank Wood for this brilliant opportunity.”

Stewart McKinlay, Associate Director of the Engineering Academy at Strathclyde, said: “We are delighted that Wood has chosen to support us in this way.

“Philanthropic gifts of this nature help transform the opportunities for our students and are a powerful demonstration of the belief in the University and its ambitions.

“The Academy provides an opportunity for people who thought they might not be able to get into engineering at Strathclyde and many of our graduates are now working in exciting, well-paid jobs.  

“In Wood selecting Kayleigh, they have a star of the future. 

“Hopefully this will encourage others to consider a career in STEM and to apply for the Engineering Academy.”

Wood's chief executive, Robin Watson, who has his own treasured memories of studying at Strathclyde, said: “Education can transform lives, and at Wood we want to provide engineers of the future with opportunities to excel and be challenged.

“We provide our employees with a wide range of learning resources; we embrace change and are shaping the future in all the industries we touch.

“I am pleased that Kayleigh is joining us through our scholarship programme and look forward to seeing her reach her full potential.”

Pauline O'Neill, Education and Families Manager, at North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Kayleigh is a great example of the critical contribution of girls to STEM in Scotland and more specifically to the Engineering Academy at Strathclyde University.

“Her success will encourage more North Lanarkshire young people both male and female to consider the Engineering Academy as a route to high demand undergraduate courses in engineering.”