Tamar Engineering Project

The Tamar Engineering Project will transform the lives of talented and ambitious students whose background or circumstances might be a barrier to higher education advancement and success. 

Established through the vision and generosity of alumnus Stephen Ball, the Tamar Engineering Project will inspire and support the next generation of engineers in the UK.


As former CEO of Lockheed Martin, and one of the UK’s leading industrialists, Stephen recognises the critical role that engineers will play in the future of a robust UK economy. It is through Stephen’s vision and generosity that the Tamar Engineering Project exists with the full support of the University.

We will provide annual financial awards and one-to-one industry mentoring to the most deserving students to facilitate University study; each award representing a life-changing opportunity for the recipient.

Bridging the engineering gap

Engineering is a creative and exciting career with great opportunities and high social mobility. There is growing concern however over the national shortage of engineers in the UK, and undertaking a degree to pursue this path can be a barrier to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Stephen Ball came from such a background and so is highly passionate about inspiring a new generation of engineers by knocking down these barriers through nurturing hidden talent and creativity.

“I am passionate about engineering and the opportunities it provides for people in life – and that is why I am supporting the Tamar Engineering Project with the University of Plymouth. A mentoring and access programme operating in collaboration with industry, like the Tamar Engineering Project can reach into socioeconomically vulnerable sections of society and provide critical support to academically excellent applicants.” Stephen Ball.
The Tamar Engineering Project will reach out to these high achievers from disadvantaged backgrounds to nurture that creative spark and inspire the ‘Brunels of the future’.

Enabling talented students to succeed

The Tamar Engineering Project (TEP) will provide one-to-one mentoring from an industry expert, a financial award of £3,000, and a £1,500 course fee-waiver per year of study to alleviate the strains of study and help students grow their confidence.

The mentoring programme offers successful applicants an exclusive insight into their chosen sector. By providing opportunities to develop their interpersonal skills, TEP scholars will gain invaluable industry knowledge; preparing them for life as an engineer.

TEP scholars will learn how to network, conduct themselves professionally, and understand organisational structure and culture to make them highly employable graduates.

The financial assistance will allow our scholars to fully commit to their study so that they may achieve their full potential.

Building on our strengths

Plymouth University provides a highly supportive environment for disadvantaged students through our Access Agreement and schemes such as Plymouth Access for Looked After Young People. 

In addition to the highly connected academic team and industry accredited courses here, we have signed-up mentors from a wide range of engineering backgrounds to support the Project. Michael LeGoff from Plessey Semiconductors said:
“The Tamar Engineering Project is a highly valuable and noble cause. This is an excellent idea and one that other universities should look at to getting their alumni to be more supportive of.
Engineering is a key discipline for and in a number of growth drivers for the UK economy; ranging from manufacturing to the service industries. I would strongly support this type of programme for any professional degree.”
With this combined network of support, we can transform the lives of our students and nurture highly employable, conscientious graduates.

We need your support

The project is currently in its pilot year phase, with applications opening for the full launch in January 2017.

To support as many students as possible on this project we need to raise £300k by 2020 to support at least 20 students through three years of study.

The financial award allows scholars to meet day-to-day financial demands associated with study – to reduce the risk of losing those talented students and so that they may fully engage in their course.

As these scholars become alumni, they will recognise the importance of support and investment in people, just as Stephen Ball has done today.

With your help we can ensure that the Tamar Engineering project breaks down the barriers which might prevent hidden talent from succeeding.

Whether you dedicate you time or your generosity to the project you could be transforming the lives of the engineers of tomorrow.

If you would like to be involved in the project please contact us.

Why I'm supporting the Tamar Engineering Project – Stephen Ball

Plymouth University alumnus Stephen Ball graduated with a BSc in Engineering in 1976 and later became CEO Lockheed Martin UK. Read his story in the Western Morning News about why he is supporting the Tamar Engineering Project

Read more from Stephen Ball

What the Tamar Engineering Project means to me – Ajen Limbu

Help with funding is the difference between success and failure. The Tamar Engineering Project inspires me to work even harder and maintain a strong level of commitment to the course.

Read more about Ajen

Lisa Jacob is selected for the pilot year of the project

"To be recognised has provided me with confidence in my studies, an increase in my self-esteem and I have noticed an improvement in my leadership abilities - I believe that my group work contributions are now more valuable. The project will also provide fantastic opportunities to push me out of my comfort zone and grow as a person."

Lisa Jacob, Civil Engineering.

Programmed for a prosperous pathway

Being part of the Tamar Engineering project shows possible employers a lot. Actually being accepted onto the project demonstrates that you are a high achiever and you have the drive to accomplish what you put your mind to.

Brian Viviers has every chance of success with support from the Tamar Engineering Project.

Read Brian's story