SSE Airtricity, Northern Ireland’s second largest energy provider, has handed a welcome financial boost to twenty-two students from Ulster University and South West Regional College, through a £100,000 Scholarship Fund.
Launched by Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry MLA in August, the Scholarship Fund, which is one of the most significant educational bursary schemes ever launched in Northern Ireland, will provide funding support towards the cost of Third-Level education for twelve students from Ulster University and ten students from South West Regional College. This years successful applicants met in Derry-Londonderry at the announcement for this year’s fund.
Funded by the Slieve Kirk Wind Park Regional Fund, the SSE Airtricity Scholarship has a total annual value of almost £100,000 and awards funding support to students living in the vicinity of SSE’s Slieve Kirk Wind Park in Counties Derry-Londonderry and Tyrone.
In its first year, the SSE Airtricity Scholarship Fund will provide an average of £3250 to 16 undergraduate and 6 postgraduate level students at Ulster University and South West College. Those in receipt of the bursaries are currently studying a variety of courses including Renewable Energy Engineering, Sustainable Construction and Wind Farm Technology.
Niall Hackett, a first year Civil Engineering & Transport student at South West College, Omagh, said: “Receiving funding support from the SSE Airtricity Scholarship Fund will have a major impact on my higher education over the next two years. The support will allow me to reduce my dependence on my part-time job for financial support and thus allow me to concentrate more on my studies. Using the Scholarship, I’ll now be able to buy myself a new laptop and pay to attend industry related personal development events.”
Mark Daly, a Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering student at Ulster University said: "The SSE Airtricity Scholarship has allowed me to pursue my dream career of engineering with less to worry about on the financial front. It means I can devote more of my time to my studies and enhances my career prospects considerably. The award is also a huge confidence boost for me to know that I was selected from such a large number of applicants."
Aoife Ryan, Head of Sustainability at SSE Airtricity, said:“The SSE Airtricity Scholarship Fund is about funding future generations through local energy schemes. This year we’re pleased to announce that twenty-two students from Counties Derry~Londonderry and Tyrone will be able to advance their educational aspirations across a variety of courses. The level of interest we have had in our first year has been phenomenal, clearly demonstrating the difference we’re making to students educational opportunities through this scholarship.”
Only four months after its launch, SSE Airtricity’s Scholarship Fund was recognised for its impact on further education at Innovisions 2014, NEF’s flagship annual conference and awards ceremony, which took place last week at the Institute of Directors in London.
Details of applications for next year can be found at www.ireland.sse.com/beingresponsible