Former student Shobhan Dhir, selected for a prestigious ScottishPower Foundation scholarship programme aimed at creating the future generation of energy experts has formally received his award at an international royal ceremony.
The ScottishPower Foundation, the charitable arm of the energy provider, is supporting 27 British graduates at leading universities by funding their enrolment fees and living allowances so that they can concentrate on pursuing careers in the fields of energy and the environment.
Shobhan Dhir, 24, is studying a Masters degree in Energy Technologies at the University of Cambridge after winning one of the coveted scholarships.
He was among a group of 11 of the Brititsh scholarship winners flown over to the headquarters of ScottishPower’s parent company Ibedrola in Madrid last week for an award ceremony also attended by fellow scholarship winners from Spain, the USA, Mexico and Brazil.
The scholars were presented their awards by Ibedrola’s chairman, Ignacio Galan, and Ramón Castresana Sanchez, director of the Iberdrola’s foundations committee, before they were received by King Felipe of Spain at a reception held at the Palacio de la Zarzuela.
Since its inception in 2010, the ScottishPower Foundation has invested more than £1.5 million supporting 80 students in postgraduate Masters degrees focussing on a range of specialisms from renewable and sustainable energy systems to clean combustion technologies, electric vehicles, and smart distribution networks.
This year, in recognition of an increase in demand for new technology roles within the industry, the programme has also incorporated degrees such as information & communication technology (ICT), cybersecurity and big data management.
The scholarships have been delivered at seven of the UK’s most prestigious institutions including Cambridge University, Imperial College London, Edinburgh University, Glasgow University, Strathclyde University, Liverpool University and the University of East Anglia. This year, for the first time two places for UK students have also been supported at the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas in Madrid.
Ann McKechin, Trustee and Executive officer of the ScottishPower Foundation, who attended the event, said: “We are delighted to support this group of very bright young people who we hope will be future leaders in the energy sector and the ScottishPower Foundation is committed to helping the advancement of their education through practical support.
“The ceremony is suitable recognition of their achievement in winning a place against tough competition on the scholarship programme at some of the very best universities in the UK and Spain.
“However, we hope that their real achievements lie ahead when they start their working careers and can lead the way in creating a sustainable energy model in how we generate, transmit and consume energy in the 21st century, while minimising the environmental and climate impact.”
Shobhan said: “Meeting the King of Spain was one of the most special experiences of my life, and I will forever cherish the opportunity. The King’s speech, and his genuine interest for our studies, was deeply motivating.
“Being a scholar has genuinely changed my life. I am studying the course I love at the university which does the research I am most interested in, and am now immersed in the renewables field, the field I most passionately care about, and this has only been possible through being a scholar. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel for this opportunity.”
He added: “The start to my career in Renewables has been because of this scholarship. I have also met so many inspiring and interesting people through the scholarship, many of which I would like to work with in the future.”