UCLan secures funding to support diversity in engineering

The University of Central Lancashire has secured £100,000 to support the ambitions of its engineering students, especially those from underrepresented groups.

The money, the largest amount available through The Royal Academy of Engineering’s new Diversity Impact Programme, will support a new 18-month extra-curricular entrepreneurship and start-up initiative.

UCLan’s Entrepreneurship and Start-up for Engineers (EASE) Zone has been created to support creativity and innovation in the university's next generation of engineers, especially those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and women.

The programme will feature business start-up workshops, expert-led masterclasses and employer challenges, including network and award celebrations. The scheme hopes to increase the number of underrepresented students who transfer into the engineering profession on graduation.

UCLan is one of 11 in the UK to receive the grant through the academy’s allocation of funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, chief executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, added: "The Academy’s new Diversity Impact Programme has been designed to support universities in making a step change in diversity and inclusivity across engineering Higher Education.

"Our goal is to help universities to develop interventions, informed by evidence, that transform the outcomes of students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. It is vital that we seek innovative and creative ways to accelerate the pace of change rather than accepting that incremental improvement is all that is possible."

Emma Speed, director of UCLan’s Creative Innovation Zone and Enterprise, said: "It’s fantastic we’ve received this funding as it will allow us to continue the work we’ve started doing to bring together people from across engineering to help them think differently and creatively. By sharing their ideas, we really hope in the long-term they will look at becoming entrepreneurs in their own right and set up their own companies."