The WCSIM Educational Trust is focused on young people studying Science and Engineering, with a leaning towards Scientific Instruments. We have a number of programmes, the two most significant of which are highlighted below.
For school and undergraduate students, our Apprentice scheme, whilst not offering work experience, offers mentoring. Following the centuries old ceremony in Guildhall, a student is ‘bound’ to a Liveryman, as an Apprentice Master who is there to support that student, in any way possible. We have a saying, ‘If your Master doesn’t know the answer to your question – they will know someone in the Livery who does!’ We also give a £500 p.a. bursary through the student’s university years. We aim to take on some 8 Apprentices each year, and the principle sources are the Arkwright scheme, which nominates 4 students each year, and the Big Bang Fair, where Liverymen judge students to elect one or two as ‘Young Scientific Instrument Maker of the Year’, and these students are given an all expenses paid trip to the USA to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair. Of the 6 years we have been running this programme, our students have won a major prize on three occasions.
At the post graduate level we offer grants of £1000 to students doing research in areas connected with scientific instruments. Working with a number of universities, the university tutor nominates a suitable candidate each year, and after a chance to present the research project to the Livery, the student is awarded the grant. Alongside this, we have a competitive scheme, and the most prestigious award made by The Livery, The SIM Beloe Fellowship, and has a value of £5000 per year. This is awarded to an outstanding post-doctoral researcher whose work is likely to make a considerable contribution to his/her field. There is only one Beloe fellow at any one time. Of course these students become Freemen of the company.
In addition to these programmes the Livery supports a number of local schools with financial support for STEM activities, and a number of military awards.
Whilst our younger members are invited all Livery events – lunches, dinners and lectures, we hold two events in our annual calendar specifically for our younger members.
The first is our Education Trust Supper, with free attendance for the younger members, wherein, before dinner, Apprentices and Liverymen, report their interests and experiences (pictured), and the floor is open for networking, with students making a beeline for the Liverymen with common interests. Supper follows with an interesting guest speaker.
The second is our annual SIMPosium, a day of lectures on a key topic, often by our members themselves. Topics recently have been Entrepreneurship, Biomedical and Measurement Systems.
At the most recent Education Trust Supper, students were asked to tell us what membership of the livery meant to them. Two of the most motivating comments were:
From an Apprentice, Tsemaye Uwejamomore: ‘ A bridge between where I am today and where I want to be.’
From a Freeman, Peter Meades: ‘WCSIM is the science network you never knew you needed.’
Altogether a number of very motivating programmes.