Secondary school student wins University degree in Engineering

Abigail Lavercombe

A talented Solihull student has been handed a sponsored place on an undergraduate degree after winning the Millennium Point Trust Young Innovator Prize.

Abigail Lavercombe from St Martin's School was awarded the place to study at Birmingham City University's Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment after beating off competition from six other students.  

Engineering Courses

Birmingham City University

The 18-year-old was named the winner during a live final on Thursday March 17, where she presented to an audience and an esteemed judging panel in order to win her place on a three-year course starting in September.

Abigail, who impressed the judges with her presentation on ‘Urban Futures: Birmingham in 2065’, will also gain experience in the workplace through a summer placement with Millennium Point and other institutions around the city.

She said: “I can’t believe I won this year’s Young Innovator Prize, it’s definitely a dream come true! Winning a sponsored undergraduate degree now means I can pursue my passion for engineering at Birmingham City University and hopefully go on to have a rewarding career in that field. I am very thankful to be given this once in a lifetime opportunity and can’t wait to start university.”

Now in its second year, this year’s event was hosted by comedian, actor and writer, Robin Ince. The prize was open to all schools, academies and colleges in Birmingham and the Midlands with students then submitting a video application in order to become shortlisted as a finalist.

Conceived by Millennium Point Trust and launched at the end of 2014, the prize is designed to encourage talented young people to study science, technology, engineering or mathematics and ensure that the region retains its reputation as one of the UK’s centres for innovation and research.

The judging panel was made up of Judith Armstrong, CEO at Millennium Point, Simon Handley, Associate Dean for Academic Portfolio and Market Development from Birmingham City University and Lauren Deere, Museum Manager at Thinktank.

This year’s runner up was Jonathan Thompson from South and City College Birmingham, and other finalists included Hassan Haji and Ahmed Ali-Sheik from St Alban's Academy, Raja Khan from Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College and Anwar Patel and Wahid Miah from Holte School. Last year’s Young Innovator Prize winner, Malik Sheryar-Karamat, also attended the event to show his support to this year’s finalists. He is successfully undertaking a mechanical engineering course at the University.

Simon Handley, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, said: “It has been a privilege to partner with Millennium Point once again to create this opportunity for a young individual who we hope will go on to have a flourishing and rewarding experience at Birmingham City University.

Simon Topman, Chair of Millennium Point Trust, says: “With more than 40 per cent of our population consisting of young people, it’s imperative that Birmingham takes action to support the next generation. Additionally, it is widely reported that young women are vastly under-represented in science and technology based careers and it is an honour to crown Abigail as this year’s winner.

“The Young Innovator Prize is a great way we can support the talented individuals of the future and give them the chance to shine, follow their dreams and build a successful career. On behalf of everyone involved in the Young Innovator Prize, I wish them all the best for a bright future.”

For more information, visit the Millennium point website.

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