Leaders of the future

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is keen to help its students become leaders of the future, with the launch of the Sheffield Engineering Leadership Academy two years ago it's no wonder we've been seeing the awards spilling in for our undergraduate students.

Each year the Royal Academy of Engineering hands out thousands of pounds for professional development to some of the UK’s most promising students in the hugely competitive Advanced Leadership Awards.

Students have to apply for the award themselves by writing a 500 word essay on why they should be chosen as well as answering questions about how they would run a business. Successful applicants are invited to an interview in London where they work in groups to complete tasks as well as having a 1-1 interview with the judges.

In 2016 only 70 students from around the country made it to the interview stage with just 35 of them walking away with the prize. Three of those students came from Sheffield with two coming from Mechanical Engineering (and a third who unfortunately didn’t win) plus one from Materials Science and Engineering.

Our most recent winners have been Jake Brown (2016), Yun Hang-Cho (2015), and Alan Middup and Rebecca Ede (both awarded in 2014).

Like so many of our students, Jake, Rebecca, Alan and Yun are involvled in a huge range of extra curricular activities which went towards their success in these awards.

Rebecca Ede - leader of the future3rd Year student, Rebecca was in her second year at the time and was the president of MechSoc where she secured a £1000 industrial sponsorship from Siemens. She was also fundraising secretary of the Sabre Cats, the university’s cheer-leading squad.

Mechanical Engineering is not where Rebecca once saw her life going. “I originally wanted to go into law,” she says, “but I did a work experience placement at RAF Brize Norton in the legal department and was given a tour of the base. When I went into the aircraft hangers and saw what they were doing, it just looked so much fun! I decided then that I wanted to be a mechanical engineer. I had done physics at college but not maths so had to do a foundation course first before progressing onto Mech.”

Rebecca was asked to advertise the award on the MechSoc social media, “When I read about the award I thought it wouldn’t hurt to apply myself. It was a very competitive process, I feel really lucky to have got it.”

There are many awards that students can apply for during their time in university, often with excellent cash prizes, scholarships and even work placements. Some of the best ones come from RAE but it's always worth keeping a look out for competitons in industry.

Some of the best RAE award schemes are listed here.