An engineer and higher education student has been awarded a prestigious scholarship.

Carlie Thompson has won an IMEChe Whitworth Scholarship.

The BAE Systems engineer is studying the first year of a BEng Hons in mechanical engineering at Furness College after completing her Advanced Apprenticeship and National Certificate at the college.

Whitworth Scholarships are awarded to the brightest and most tenacious apprentices. In 1868, Sir Joseph Whitworth, one of history’s most famous engineers and himself an apprentice, left a legacy to found engineering scholarships to assist technicians and apprentices wishing to pursue an academic engineering degree.

As trustee of this legacy, IMechE offers a number of awards each year from the Whitworth Scholarship Trust to support students through their degree programme, as well as senior scholarships for postgraduate research.

As an award holder, the engineer will receive a generous financial reward of £2,500 for her part time study and probationary membership of the Whitworth Society.

The mother-of-two was recommended to apply for the scholarship by a work colleague. Her referees were her very proud BEng lecturer, Ken Seddon, equally proud employer, Michael Weaver, with whom she worked on Warrior tank testing.

She was interviewed at the IMeche institute in London in front of a panel of three judges, and said:

Although nervous, I felt privileged and honoured to have been invited for interview. I knew this experience would present me with a wonderful opportunity which would be beneficial to my future career progression

Having been successful, she returned to London at the end of September to receive her award. She said: “It was a great event and gave me the opportunity to meet other students and share ideas and information.”

Carlie has demonstrated remarkable determination to pursue a career in engineering, balancing a home and family life, work and education. To achieve a Whitworth scholarship has been a fantastic opportunity to recognise her talent and skill in her chosen area. She has always proven to be a quick learner and able to understand challenging concepts even when in demanding trial conditions. I’m confident she will go onto achieve a great future and provide a role model in engineering – Mr Seddon

Miss Thompson knew little about the engineering profession as a school leaver and after school she worked in a number of business roles, but then after researching jobs which would match her own skill set – creativity, design and maths, she found engineering was the right career path for her.

She sees winning the scholarship as just the beginning of a long journey of which she hopes to reach chartership status and she also encourages other women into engineering as it offers so many opportunities.

I am a STEM (science technology engineering and mathematics) ambassador which is to inspire the next generation and show how cool engineering is

At the start of my engineering career, I had two fantastic journeymen, John Packington and Malcolm Leviston, who tested my fear of heights by encouraging me to ‘walk the height of the DDH doors’ to gain confidence as an apprentice within my first year of industry. The first time I went onboard a submarine I was amazed and inspired at the complexity of this engineering capability. I would encourage anyone considering a career in engineering. At present it’s now more accessible via apprenticeship schemes and further education. Support from my close relatives, especially my mum, has enabled me the opportunity to have a career within engineering and continue my education further

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