University's Scholarship Programmes Widen Access to Education

University's Scholarship Programmes Widen Access to Education

Supporting scholarships offers financial assistance to students and helps develop talent for the future.

Supporting scholarships offers financial assistance to students and helps develop talent for the future

At a time when employers are eager to attract and retain talented staff, finding ways of connecting with the next generation of employees with the correct skills base has never been more important. Nurturing talent is a priority for any successful employer, but the development of that talent does not have to wait until prospective employees have entered the working environment. Organisations are increasingly making charitable donations to establish scholarship schemes to build relationships with students who are also potential future recruits. 

The University of Aberdeen operates a comprehensive scholarship programme to aid students' professional development and offer them invaluable financial assistance. Thanks to the generous support of companies, trusts, foundations and individual donors, more than 200 scholarships and bursaries are currently offered by to the University.  

For Kenneth Robertson, receiving a scholarship was a vital lifeline.  Kenneth was awarded a scholarship supported by Talisman Energy (UK) worth £15,000 to support him through his one year postgraduate degree in Integrated Petroleum Geoscience. He says that without this crucial financial support he would have been unable to undertake the degree programme.

Kenneth explains: "Having graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 2003 with an Honours degree in Geology & Petroleum Geology, I entered the oil and gas industry, working offshore for over two years. I had always intended to focus my career within the field of Geology, but my professional development seemed to be steering me away from this course.  Undertaking the postgraduate degree allowed me to refocus the direction of my career. Leaving employment to return to University was a difficult decision, in part due to the financial implications. Without the significant monetary support the scholarship provided, I would have been unable to undertake my postgraduate degree."

Throughout the period of his scholarship Kenneth developed an extremely positive professional relationship with Talisman.  As a result he has been offered a position as a Geologist for the company, which he will undertake in October following his graduation.

Talisman Energy (UK) Limited Vice-president Nick Walker is equally enthusiastic about the scholarship programme: "In a sector experiencing skills shortages across the board, developing potential talent for the future is more crucial than ever before, especially in an area  such as Geoscience.  Scholarships are an ideal way to support and develop individuals who may become valuable employees. Talisman has committed £300,000 over a six-year period to fund around 70 scholars at the University of Aberdeen.  The awards aim to engage the students with the industry, broadening their knowledge and offering them vital first hand experience."

The company's support has already begun to reap rewards, with the first cohort of Talisman scholars completing their studies. Pictured are four Talisman scholars (left to right – Daniel Leeman, Martin Chalmers, John Mill, and Susanna Clark) each of whom received a First Class Honours degree in July 2008.

Organisations or individuals wishing to discuss the benefits of supporting a scholarship at the University should please contact Sharon O' Loan, Campaign Director, on (01224) 274114 or at s.oloan@abdn.ac.uk.

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