A charity set up in the name of one of the North’s most successful engineers is making sure that the next generation of scientists does not miss out on their training.
The Reece Foundation - which was set up by engineer and businessman Dr Alan Reece to promote manufacturing and support education relating to engineering, maths and physics - is to pay travel bursaries to young people wanting to go to the new Discovery School in Newcastle.
The money will be used to assist students who are eligible for free school meals, or those who have to travel some distance to get to the school, which will specialise in preparing students for jobs in engineering, science and manufacturing.
Since Dr Reece’s death in 2012, his family have carried on the work of his foundation.
His daughter Anne, a trustee of the foundation, said: “It is vital we encourage a new generation of engineers and the initiative at the Discovery School, with its emphasis on technical and engineering subjects, makes it an organisation we are delighted to support.
“Their aspirations to increase the technical skills and employment prospects of students are closely aligned to the Reece Foundation’s ethos of supporting engineering education and enterprise in the North East.
“Projects such as this allow students to become enthused and excited by engineering and ultimately inspired to become our engineers of the future.”
Mr Reece’s name became synonymous with engineering across the UK after he developed a technique of burying subsea cables, which was widely adopted in the growth of the North Sea oil and gas business.
He had earlier trained as an apprentice engineer at the Vickers-Armstrong works before going on to become a lecturer at Newcastle University, where he worked for almost 30 years.
But after inventing the deep sea plough to bury pipelines, he set up Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) to deliver the project and later went on to acquire Pearson Engineering, which focused on the military market, and latterly Velocity Road Patching.
Discovery School Principal Wendy Allen said: “Dr Reece was an incredible inspiration to young people in this region and was a great advocate of the engineering and manufacturing sectors, so we are thrilled to have received the support from the foundation.
“We are very excited about what Discovery School will offer young people who have a love of maths and science, so it means so much to us to have the backing of this great entrepreneur’s family.”
Students aged between 14 and 19 from Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham will attend Discovery School, which will offer traditional GCSE and A-Level qualifications.
The school is working with a number of companies including Pearson Engineering, Siemens, Egger and Ryder Architecture.
There is still time to enrol for a place at Discovery School. To find out more, go to www.discoveryschool.org.uk .