“My career ambition is to work with energy or manufacturing in a sustainable way,” says George Modica-Cliff, a second-year student on the MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Composites degree. “I would love to create a solution to the world’s dependence on fossil fuels – one that is affordable and accessible to everyone.”
It’s an ambition that is being supported by the Tamar Engineering Project (TEP), a national-first mentoring and scholarship programme that aims to nurture talent in a critically important discipline for the country. Developed in partnership with engineering alumnus Stephen Ball, former CEO of Lockheed Martin UK, the TEP covers 29 degree courses across engineering, computing and robotics and offers successful applicants a course fee waiver, a contribution to living costs, and personal mentoring from a senior figure in industry. And it is primarily aimed at those who come from key widening participation backgrounds, such as those who are first generation university applicants or in need of financial assistance. George was one of just three students to qualify for the TEP in the last academic year, after he enrolled at the University from UTC (University Technical College) Plymouth. “I was very excited and proud, and it confirmed that my decision to do a degree at Plymouth was the right one,” he says. “I felt lucky, as well as more confident, and it boosted my self-esteem.”
George has been placed with Iain Priest, National Engineering Manager – Energy Recovery Facilities (ERF) at Viridor. And it was the chance to learn from just such a senior figure that inspired him to apply for the TEP in the first place.
“Iain is a professional engineer, who understands the skills and competencies that are required for a career in engineering,” George says. “He is helping me to develop those skills and giving me insights into how employers think. Furthermore, he is giving me opportunities to visit his workplace and practise presentation skills.”