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Celebrating 10 years of Arkwright scholarships

This is the full transcript of a shorter article carried in this term’s Hearts & Wings.

Since 1995 Haileybury has entered pupils for the Arkwright Scholarship scheme and we are able to reflect with some pride on the considerable success of our pupils over the course of the intervening years. In total 11 scholarships have been gained and, with two pupils selected for interviews at Imperial College London at the end of March, we hope to add another name to this lengthy and distinguished list, and another portrait to the gallery on display in the Technology Centre!

The number of scholarships awarded is approximately 150 per calendar year and four times the number of applicants usually applies. The competition is fierce and the selection process through a formal application, a challenging aptitude paper and selection day demands a great deal for the pupils concerned. Those who have succeeded become the torch bearers for a nationally recognised award and it is pleasing to reflect that each and every Haileybury scholar has been a worthy ambassador for the trust.

Says Berian Williams-Jones, Head of the Technology Department at Haileybury: "As an interviewer for the scholarship scheme, I am called upon to assess the suitability of approximately 10 pupils as part of the selection day. When these individuals present their varied pieces of work one recognises very quickly that the Arkwright award is for the best of the best.

"Those who progress to this stage of the selection process represent the pinnacle of design and technology at their respective schools and, as the quality of universities to which many scholars progress evidences, the gold standard of the scheme."

To celebrate 10 years of participating in the Arkwright Scholarship Scheme, we talked to Haileybury’s 11 scholars to find out where they are now and how being a Scholar helped them in their chosen careers.

Robert Crofton (B): Arkwright Scholar from 1996 to 1997 – now managing a portfolio of private and corporate clients for a private bank, Arbuthnot Latham, in the City of London.

"I wanted to pursue a career in engineering and thought that the Arkwright Scholarship would help my CV, introduce me to potential employers and develop my knowledge of the industry.

"For GCSE I built moving targets for an air rifle shooting range and for A Levels, I built a device that cleaned precision engineered parts produced on a lathe. The device removed swarf and cutting fluid from the machined part ready for it to be packed and sold directly to customers, therefore speeding up the manual process of cleaning each part individually. Other projects included building a device that measured the toughness of materials.

"I spent a year in marketing with my current employer and during this time I conducted a complete re-brand of the company’s marketing material and image. This involved using many of the skills I learnt for my A Level in DT and I can definitely say the hours spent learning how to draw and sketch on isometric paper came in handy!

"Although my job now does not directly relate to design, various aspects can be applied in all walks of life. The Arkwright Scholarship was also excellent when it came to applying for jobs after university and nearly all of the interviews I had with prospective employers picked up on the fact that I had been awarded the scholarship.

Sam Selby (Aby): Arkwright Scholar from 1998 to 1999 – now in her second year of a Design Management BA (Hons) Degree at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design.

"I was one of the four pioneering girls to join the school in the Middles, as the school had just turned co-educational.

"DT was the only lesson I truly looked forward to. I had always found it enjoyable being the only girl, but somehow it made it more challenging. My classmates and I were a team. We always supported each other and gave one another a pat on the back even when our projects went completely wrong.

"The teaching for me was the most constructive things I have ever encountered. I found the ‘one on one’ tuition most effective. The teachers would go out of their way to help, especially a dyslexic like myself who had to be directed through the work load.

"My GCSE project was a Surface Marker Buoy, designed for scuba divers, with a strobe light mounted on top for use in bad visibility weather, and my A/S project was the design of a newly developed pencil sharpener. It had double sided blades, for the use of both right and left handed people. My A2 project was a kettle pouring aid to help those with problems like osteoarthritis to pour a kettle.

"Receiving the scholarship built my confidence hugely. It was an amazing feeling to be the first female at Haileybury to be awarded the scholarship, but then to be told that I was also the first female scholar in Hertfordshire was phenomenal.

"I don’t think I would be where I am today without the scholarship behind me. I have also become heavily involved with the student union. Last year I represented my course as Programme Leader; I was elected Welfare Officer by the students, and have a seat on the Student Executive Committee, which sees to the running of the Student Union. This year I was elected Entertainments Officer, Programme Leader and I still maintain my seat on the Student Executive committee."

Andy Coward (L): Arkwright Scholar from 1999 to 2001 – now in his third year of a Cambridge engineering degree (civil and structural).

"My memories of Design Technology (DT) at Haileybury include a mixture of doing a lot of drawing in the old department and workshops and then being confronted by the shiny new building for my GCSE year. I was just about given the run of the building and there was never any problem using the equipment, unlike at university where we’re not even allowed to look at a lathe yet alone get our fingers dirty.

"My project for GCSE involved building a solar-powered fan (called a Solafan), while for A Levels, I built a device that put a stamp on tennis balls.

"DT has been hugely helpful to me throughout my degree. At every stage during the first two years of general engineering, I was a step ahead of my colleagues. Five years of practice in drawing, electronics, materials and workshop skills gave me a real boost.

"The advice I would give current pupils thinking of applying for a scholarship is not to be afraid to suggest crazy ideas and not to listen to universities that say that DT is not as impressive an A Level as something else."

Richard Dimock (B): Arkwright Scholar from 2000 to 2002 – now in his second year at Durham University studying General Engineering.

"Design Technology formed a substantial part of my life at Haileybury, from my first year in the old Technology Centre and throughout my GCSEs and A Levels in the new facilities. I remember the department as a friendly, exciting environment and of all the subjects I studied, DT provided the opportunity to be creative whilst acquiring skills that will be useful throughout my career.

"My GCSE project was a bicycle wheel ‘truing’ stand for fixing buckled wheels and for A Level I designed and made an automated pill bottle opener.

"I applied for the scholarship as, having enjoyed the GCSE course, I was keen to study Technology at A Level and it was an excellent opportunity to get both financial support and sponsorship.

"Through sponsorship by The Smallpeice Trust, I was awarded a place on the Smallpeice Engineering Gap Year. The year involved a 10-week Engineering Management course at Plymouth University, followed by one month at a language school in France and three months working for a French engineering company. T