Our History

For 30 years, Arkwright has identified, inspired and nurtured future leaders in engineering, computing and technical design.

The Arkwright Engineering Scholarships programme 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 Arkwright Engineering Scholarships programme 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 programme 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 programme just five Scholarships were awarded. Since then the number of Arkwright Engineering Scholarships awarded each year has grown steadily. In 2017, a record number of 425 sixth-form Arkwright Engineering Scholarships were awarded. In recent years, a small number of exclusive Arkwright Engineering Undergraduate Scholarships have been awarded to sixth-form Scholars to ease their transition to higher education. This is one of the many ways in which Arkwright Engineering Scholarships have a positive benefit on their recipients over the duration of their entire careers.

The Arkwright Engineering Scholarships programme was led from 1991 to 2001 by Mr Tony Pickering, former Head Teacher of Pocklington School.  In order to ensure the programme continued to develop following his retirement, Tony oversaw the transfer of the Arkwright Engineering Scholarships programme to The Smallpeice Trust in 2001, who incorporated the Arkwright Scholarships Trust, an independent registered charity within The Smallpeice Trust Group of Charities. The Arkwright Scholarships Trust moved into The Smallpeice Trust’s offices in 2001, and in addition to free office space The Smallpeice Trust provided its subsidiary’s finance, HR and ICT functions. 

The Arkwright Scholarships Trust was led by Mrs Linda Scott OBE FRSA from 2001 to 2011, and by Dr Martin Thomas CEng FIET MIMMM MInstLM from 2011 to 2017.

As of the 05 January 2018, Arkwright Engineering Scholarships are administered by The Smallpeice Trust, the UK’s leading STEM Education Charity with over 50 years’ experience of helping young people develop the confidence to fulfil their potential.