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A GEM of a scholarship

By Elin Williams - Posted on 22 February 2017

As the Scottish Power Foundation once again offers scholarships to Strathclyde Business School students, Global Energy Management student Elin Williams reflects on what gaining a scholarship has meant to her.

As a History graduate, I became involved in a variety of energy related community projects when I returned to Snowdonia after completing my degree.

This sparked my interest in applying for a Masters’ programme that would combine the enhancement of the skills gained from my undergraduate degree as well as fulfil my future career aspirations. Strathclyde’s MSc in Global Energy Management (GEM) offered the opportunity to provide me with an edge to compete in the energy job market which was highly appealing.

I was considering the GEM programme along with other energy programmes as I was dedicated to finding a programme that would lead me to a career within the energy industry. However, I was also actively searching for scholarships that would allow me study in a university of my choosing. Without the ScottishPower Foundation scholarship I would have had to postpone enrolling on the programme for another year in order to raise enough funds to invest in a Masters’ degree so I was delighted when I found out about it.

The scholarship application process involved an initial CV and cover letter submission and I was later invited to ScottishPower’s HQ in Glasgow for an interview. The thought of an interview was quite daunting as, coming from a history background, I didn’t think I would have the relevant experience.

However, the panel were very friendly and the combination of transferable skills from my history degree and extra-curricular endeavours resulted in a successful application.

Everyone who is successful in gaining a ScottishPower scholarship is eligible to attend a trip to Madrid, an event organised by the Fundación Iberdrola, sister charity of the ScottishPower Foundation.

I went along unaware of the King and Queen of Spain’s role at the scholarship ceremony. It turned out that they handed us our scholarships and I got to shake King Felipe’s hand as he congratulated me on my success in securing the scholarship.

I also got a chance to speak to Spain’s education minister who seemed interested that I had travelled from Wales and therefore must be fan of Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale!

The ceremony was an exceptional experience in itself but we also had the opportunity to socialise and network with the other scholars which I believe will be incredibly useful for us as future energy professionals.

The GEM programme has certainly lived up to my expectations so far. I’m learning a great deal about various sectors of the energy industry from various energy technologies and economics to policy making and several other energy related topics.

One of the highlights for me is the fact that as well as core electives we can select from a broad range of energy related electives that will most benefit us for our future career path. The programme can therefore cater for various individuals with diverse future career goals within the energy industry.

The Energy Forum which is held each week is also a valuable feature of the programme. The Forum allows us to network with various energy professionals from various sectors of the industry and enables us to understand more about the issues and challenges that we may face in our upcoming careers.

I’d say to anyone thinking of applying to the programme not to be put off if you think that your background is unrelated to the energy industry. However, it’s good to have some passion and drive to demonstrate your interest in the programme and know for certain that you want your career to lead into the energy industry.

I would advise those who are interested in applying but unsure on financial grounds to actively look for grants and scholarships as there are a few grants and scholarships available to assist with Masters’ funding.

I am currently in the process of securing a placement with Scottish Power’s smart metering team and hopefully getting involved with the customer experience side of the organization over summer.

Since enrolling on the GEM programme I have also been invited on BBC Radio Cymru to talk about the experiences I’ve had on the programme, the ScottishPower Foundation’s scholarship and the community energy projects back in Snowdonia.

The GEM programme can open doors to a wide variety of careers including consultancy, energy analysts, government, as well as a diverse number of technology companies and energy engineering for those with engineering backgrounds.

Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114

 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119


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