A key pillar to our success is the many partnerships we have with the industry, none more so than with the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights.
Established 700 years ago the aim of the Shipwrights’ Company was to safeguard the quality of shipbuilding and centuries on it continues to play an active role in championing and investing in the maritime industry.
As part of that work the company provides bursaries for two University students.
The University is one of only three higher education institutions to benefit from this philanthropic work of the organisation due to the quality of courses on offer in the marine sector.
The Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, Richard Cole-Mackintosh, explains: “The Shipwrights’ Company only has a finite amount of funding so the universities we support are selected because the courses on offer are directly applicable to the roots of the Company and its future.
“The Shipwrights’ charitable and educational work involves a number of different programmes which are all directed at helping young people get into the industry.”
Financial help and mentor advice
Students get the opportunity to bid for the bursary in their first year and if successful not only get financial help, but also the support of a mentor.
Alan Cartwright took over as mentor two years ago and has been providing support to the current students when they need it.
The former Royal Navy Officer is a Liveryman of the Company himself. Prior to working at Warsash Maritime Academy, Alan was Head of Marine Engineering at the Port of London Authority. All of this experience gives him a wealth of knowledge and contacts to share with the students.
He says: “My role is to basically be there to help support the students so they can get maximum benefit from their time at Southampton and the maximum benefit from the Shipwrights’ Company bursary.
“Gaining practical experience and industry insight is the crucial step in gaining employment.
“Alumni from the University generally do extremely well, but work experience is key – and that is where we can help. If we are going to succeed as a maritime nation we need our young people to be successful.
“Shipwrights want to be able to support those that have the skill and ability, but don’t necessarily have the opportunity. The bursary is for those who might otherwise struggle, but with a bit of support and help they can really make a go of it.”
Bursary made the difference
Students benefiting from the bursaries include Moriba Konate (MEng Ship Science, second year), who won a national scholarship to pay for his course fees after excelling in his A level exams in the Seychelles. Having always had a love of the sea, he decided to pursue a career in the maritime industry and enrolled on the University’s ship science course in 2015.
Last year he secured a Shipwrights’ bursary, which will contribute to his accommodation.
Moriba said: “It was a big decision to come to study in England, but I wanted to do something that made me happy and that would challenge me intellectually.
“This course was perfect, but it did place a huge burden on my family financially. This bursary has allowed me to continue my studies as it was a huge struggle to pay for everything; it has made a massive difference and I am very grateful.”
It was a summer holiday to Newquay where Nick Jones’ (MEng Ship Science, third year) passion for the sea was ignited and then pursued – despite coming from land-locked Shropshire. His love of sailing led him to Southampton, where a subsequent successful application for a bursary enabled Nick to fund a summer placement in naval architecture. He said: “There is no sailing background in my family. It was certainly my thing and now I have had a chance of making a career out of that.
Equal access to education
“Opportunities like the ones offered by the Shipwrights are so important because they give people a chance at something who otherwise wouldn’t have had that chance.”
Along with the bursaries the Shipwrights’ Company also awards a £1,000 prize to the student who excels in their third year exams.
Ship Science Lecturer at the University, Professor Philip Wilson said:
This enormously generous scheme has directly benefited students who are disadvantaged in many different ways to be able to continue and enhance their educational experience at Southampton on the ship science degree.
The connection to the Shipwrights also extends into our alumni community. Chris Adams (BSc Nautical Studies, 1977) currently sits on the Shipwrights’ Education and Charities Committee.
Chris, who served as a navigating officer in the Merchant Navy and is now a director at Steamship Insurance Management Services Limited. He has witnessed how beneficial support from the Shipwrights can be.
“The Shipwrights’ charitable funding really does make a tremendous difference to students by enabling those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to develop skills that prove to be invaluable to their future,” he says.
“The financial support also means that students are free of concern about how they will support themselves; it eases their financial burden so they can concentrate on their studies,” Chris added.
Each year the University also hosts the annual Shipwrights’ Lectures where the organisation invites leading lights from the industry to talk about their expertise to an audience of over 300 apprentices, students and employers from across the county.
Richard explained how the continued partnership with the Shipwrights aims to build on enhancing the reputation of the UK as a world leader in the sector.
He added: “In both industry, particularly leisure craft, and in research and development, the UK is a world leader. The quality of product manufactured in the UK and the quality of people who go to sea is second to none. The Shipwrights’ Company aims to be part of the future and to help reinforce that success.”
If you are interested in helping to financially support our students, please email email@example.com