School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering  



Power Academy Scholarships
18th March 2005

The Power Academy

- Addressing the problems facing the UK electrical power industry -

The Institution of Electrical Engineers, the electricity supply industries, the power equipment manufacturers, the power consultants and four prestigious UK universities have formed the Power Academy in response to the growing shortage of qualified electrical power engineers in the UK.

The Universities involved in the scheme are Southampton, Strathclyde, Manchester and Queen’s University of Belfast; and the companies are Central Networks, EDF Energy, Scottish Power, Western Power, CE Electric, National Grid Transco, United Utilities, Scottish and Southern Energy, Viridian, Jersey Electric, EA Technology, Siemens, VA Tech, ABB, Kelman, FG Wilson, PB Power and Atkins Power.

The Academy aims to attract more UK and EU students onto the best Electrical and Electronic Engineering BEng and MEng degrees using an attractive mix of financial incentives, technical training and business education. The academy will promote the opportunities to be gained from a career in the power industry.

The Electricity Industry Review estimates that, since the privatisation of UK electricity supply industry, the number of people employed in the industry has decreased by 62%. At present, there are probably between 100 and 200 home students studying on UK electrical and electronic degree courses with an emphasis on power engineering. Queen’s graduates 20 – 30 students in this category every year. The power networking companies estimate they need 200 of these graduates every year, and the power equipment manufacturing companies a similar number. Compounding the problem is the need for qualified electrical power engineers to design and maintain the smaller, localised generation sources, which are a major part of the Government’s renewable energy policy.

The shortage of electrical power engineers can be attributed to a combination of factors:

  • Schools and colleges are not producing adequate numbers of students with high calibre Maths, Physics & Technology skills.
  • Many EEE schools have moved their research and teaching activities away from power engineering into other less expensive options; exceptions are Manchester, Southampton, Strathclyde & Queen’s.
  • Large numbers of power engineers have recently retired or will retire during the next 10 years.
  • Greater need for power engineers due to changing network requirements and government policies.

The Power Academy will recruit around 50 undergraduate students in 2005, rising up to 60 students in 2006. These students will be sponsored throughout their courses by the Power Academy. Benefits will include payment of tuition fees, a £2000 bursary, £250 for course materials, IEE membership and a summer school in core business and management skills. Students will also be offered paid industrial placement and vacation experience.

If you know any school or college student who wants to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Queen’s then please encourage them to apply for a scholarship. For a student starting this year on the MEng course it will be financially worth almost £14,000.

If you are already at Queen’s studying on the EEE course and are interested in electrical power engineering, then apply now. If you are successful the scholarship will start next September and continue until the end of your degree. Note:- the company that sponsors you expects you to work for them after you graduate.