Allan Glen's Endowment Trust
In the academic year 2022 to 2023 AGEST is supporting 12 students in their engineering studies at Scottish universities.
Each AGEST Scholar receives a bursary of £2000 a year, paid in two instalments. Scholars are regularly asked for informal feedback as to how they are getting on and in July of each year they have to provide a formal report to trustees. In recent years, partly in response to the very real difficulties students were experiencing as a result of Covid-related remote learning, the Allan Glen School Club has been hosting annual get-together dinners, so that all the students can meet, compare notes and listen to talks and advice from Scholars who have recently graduated or who have sucesfully overcome particular problems along their academic journeys.
In February of 2023, 15 Scholars and 4 members of the School Club committee met at La Fiorentina Restaurant in Paisley Road. Three recent graduates gave really excellent short presentations:
Scott McClaffery, who graduated last summer with distinction in his masters degree in civil engineering at Strathclyde, and who is now working in the nuclear division of Mott Macdonald, told us about his journey so far. Interestingly, he placed most emphasis on the importance of developing the ‘soft skills’. In companies like Mott Macdonald, he said, engineering expertise could be taken as a given, but real progress depended on being able to work harmoniously and creatively as part of a team. His firm’s rigorous selection process was largely geared to making sure that candidates really did have these people skills.
Georgia Harvey, who graduated MEng 2.1 from Glasgow in Aerospace Systems, focused on the importance of identifying and applying early for educational and career opportunities. Much of her final year had been spent on system evaluations of CubeSat technology and at the start of that year she had applied to Glasgow-based CraftProspect. After a number of interviews, she was taken on as a graduate space systems engineer on a six-month contract. Georgia was involved in preparation for the recent Virgin Orbit launch of LauncherOne. The failure of that attempt had been a disappointment, but the team was confident that the lessons learned would pay off next time.
Georgia talking about her role in planning for LauncherOne
Haneen Fatima, who had also been doing well in Aerospace Systems at Glasgow, decided to take a different career turn. She graduated BEng and was accepted to do a PhD within the Communication, Sensing and Imaging group at the university. Her area of research lies in Artificial Intelligence and Wireless Communication Systems. Haneen told the audience about the attractions and pitfalls of life in academia.
Impact of the Trust
What these young people have managed to do so far would surely be impressive in any context. When we remember Scott, Georgia and Haneen had all been nominated by their schools (Springburn Academy, Rosshall Academy and Holyrood Secondary respectively) as being young people who had potential, but whose families were struggling, and when we take into account that no-one in any of their families had had any experience of higher education, their achievements are surely remarkable and reflect very well on AGEST and what it is trying to do.