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Inaugural Subsea UK Scholarship Award Offers Engineers Bright Future

14 September 2011

An Aberdeen based engineer has become one of the first recipients of a new £7,500 scholarship, awarded by subsea industry body Subsea UK.

Yasaman Zirakzadeh, a senior electronic engineer at Aker Solutions is one of two subsea engineers to have been recognised with the grant. Darren Brown, a development engineer for First Subsea in Lancaster, will also be supported through his studies.

This is the first year that Subsea UK has awarded the scholarship prize in an effort to increase the number of highly skilled and qualified subsea engineers in the industry. The annual award will enable the two successful candidates to study towards a post-graduate MSc in subsea engineering and management.

Subsea UK chief executive, Neil Gordon, said: "These scholarships are part of our drive to address the challenges of developing a new pipeline of young engineers coming into the industry. There are some pinch points in terms of skills looming and, if the UK is to remain at the forefront in subsea around the world, we must promote and drive forward other initiatives to create a new pool of future talent.

"We launched this scholarship initiative to give talented, professional and determined young engineers a helping hand towards a bright engineering future in subsea and are delighted to award the first of these annual grants.

Yasaman Zirakzadeh said she was grateful to be given such a "terrific opportunity".

Subsea UK CEO Neil Gordon, left, with Yasaman and Darren.

The 29-year-old who lives and will study in Aberdeen said: "I am really pleased to be granted this scholarship, it is a major boost to my career development in subsea.

"I will be studying my MSc in subsea engineering while working full time and am really looking forward to it."

The post-graduate masters scholarship supports students by financing up to 80% of the total annual costs a maximum of £7,500 for a full-time course and £3,500 for a part-time course. The funds can be used to finance course material, books, travel, subsistence and accommodation - on top of the initial course fees.

Darren, who will be studying part-time at Newcastle University, said: "It has been a goal of mine to obtain my MSc and fulfil my potential as an engineer.

"This opportunity will allow me to refine my skills in order to further progress up the career ladder. I am looking forward to getting my head down, gaining my qualification and hopefully becoming a chartered engineer in the subsea sector.

The scholarship will be paid to the sponsoring company and the student must undertake to continue in the employment of that company for a minimum of two years after completion of the degree programme.

Subsea UK champions the UK subsea supply chain, representing over 200 members. It acts as a focal point for all member companies to promote the sector and maximise its opportunities at home and abroad and provides a national forum for collaboration, diversification and technology development.

The last review of the subsea sector in 2010 revealed that the UK subsea sector supports 50,000 jobs and generates £6 billion in revenues and exporting around 56% of those revenues.