The future’s green with electric vehicle scholarship

A 16-year-old girl studying at Edinburgh College is on the road to a long future in automotive engineering after being awarded an electric vehicle (EV) scholarship.

Jessica O’Leary will complete a five-month scholarship designed to ensure she will leave college equipped with a greater depth of knowledge in electric vehicle technology, helping her to become an accomplished employee who can support the motor industry with future sustainable transportation developments.

Jessica is currently studying towards her IMI Level 1 Transport Maintenance (Light Vehicle) Certificate at the college’s Midlothian Campus and felt that applying for the EV scholarship, which involves working alongside college EV administrator, Bob Murphy, was a chance not to be missed.

The EV scholarship is run by the Edinburgh College Development Trust and is funded by Alex F Noble & Son, a long-established Midlothian-based Nissan car dealership. Jessica is the second student to have been selected to complete the programme having shown a real interest in EV technology during the application process.

“Electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming more mainstream today because of the move to become more sustainable, so I was really keen on getting involved in something that will help to keep my learning up-to-date with what’s happening across the wider world”, said Jessica.

“The scholarship so far has been brilliant, I’ve loved working with Bob as he pays so much attention to detail and explains everything so well, and I get loads of opportunities to be hands on which is just what I want to be doing.”

Gordon Campbell, Sales Manager at Alex F Noble & Son Nissan said: “We’re very proud of our long association with Edinburgh College and thrilled for Jessica in winning the first of this year’s two electric vehicle scholarships. Our Nissan LEAF all-electric vehicles are very much the future of motoring so it’s fitting that the new scholarships are helping the students of today become the highly skilled technicians of tomorrow.“

Glenrothes-born Jessica moved to Edinburgh in October 2017, the start of what she hopes is a long and successful journey to the top of the motoring industry – feeding her interest in how cars and engines are put together and function.

“I love problem solving, identifying issues and spending time to figure out the best possible solution. I guess that, alongside my strong interest in cars, meant that coming to Edinburgh College was the best thing for me to do after leaving school.”

Throughout her time at the college so far, Jess has spent the majority of her time in the workshop, an environment which in previous decades has been typically home to men. However, Jess believes girls should not be discouraged from entering automotive industry

“It really doesn’t matter. I’ve loved cars for a long time and I’m passionate about working in this industry. That’s what truly matters – it’s about being what you want to be and being happy.

“My ultimate goal is to work for a big-name organisation within the industry and to contribute to the development of their sustainability work – hopefully through hard work I can make it happen.”

Edinburgh College Engineering curriculum manager Ross Milligan said: “Jessica is a great student. Her enthusiasm for automotive engineering is clear to see and it’s fantastic that she’s been selected to complete this scholarship, which will complement her learning and contribute to her overall development. The standard of applications for the scholarship was very high and we look forward to seeing Jessica reaping the rewards of this training in the future.

“We’re very grateful to Alex F Noble & Son once again for their generosity. The company has supported us for a number of years now, providing our students with additional resources to further their development and it’s great to see Jessica being the latest student to benefit from that support.”