Our History


2016 was the Arkwright Engineering Scholarships 25th Anniversary. For a quarter of a century Arkwright has identified, inspired and nurtured future leaders in engineering, computing and technical design. 


It all began in 1991, when a group of committed Headteachers concluded that Design & Technology was not being given the profile the subject deserved as a breeding ground for future high-calibre Engineers and Technical Designers. It was decided to launch a Scholarship Scheme to encourage and stimulate high-ability 15/16 year olds to consider Engineering and Technical Design as a career, through the study of Design and Technology. Over the years the charity has widened its focus across the whole spectrum of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), to seek out the very best students who are potential future leaders of the Engineering Profession.

The charity is named after the famed 18th Century engineer Sir Richard Arkwright (1732 - 1792), inventor of the water frame and the 'father' of the modern factory system. Full details about Sir Richard can be found on Wikipedia.

In the first year of the scheme just five Scholarships were awarded. Since then Arkwright has seen a steady increase in Scholarships. In 2016, 413 sixth-form Scholarships were awarded. In recent years, Arkwright has awarded a small number of exclusive Undergraduate Scholarships to some of its sixth-form Scholars to ease their transition to higher education. This is one of the many ways in which Arkwright has a positive benefit on Scholars for their entire careers.

CEOsThe Trust was led from 1991 to 2001 by Mr Tony Pickering, former Head Teacher of Pocklington School. From 2001 to 2011 the Trust was led by Mrs Linda Scott OBE FRSA, former National Director of the Engineering Education Scheme in England. In 2011 Dr Martin Thomas CEng FIET MIMMM MInstLM took the 'helm' upon Linda Scott's retirement. Dr Thomas was previously a Director at EngineeringUK.

Since 2000 the Arkwright Scholarships Trust has worked closely with The Smallpeice Trust. Arkwright is a separate registered charity, but has the benefit of Smallpeice’s office facilities and IT and Finance functions – which provides economies of scale to both charities.

The Arkwright team looks forward to continuing to work with business, industry and academia to identify future leaders in engineering, computing and technical design for the next twenty-five years and beyond!