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Because we want to encourage and enable the next generation of engineers after we’ve gone

Having been an active member of the IET throughout his career and into his retirement, Trevor Grimshaw has seen first-hand the impact IET programmes such as its scholarships and awards can have on young engineers.

This is why, when finalising their wills, he and his wife chose to pledge a monetary gift to the Futures Fund, which finances these programmes.

“Without kids of our own, and after looking after our wider families, we considered how we might allocate any residual assets after we are both gone.”

“We thought about who’d make the best use of it. Having spent time on the IET’s Scholarships Committee, I’ve seen how much good these awards can do and so we decided to pledge a gift in our will to the IET.”

A professional home for life  

Trevor, today an Honorary Fellow of the IET, joined a predecessor institution back in the early days of his career and has been an active volunteer ever since.

His working life started as a student apprentice at the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB), where one of his early jobs was powering up one of the fledgeling Glastonbury Festivals while on secondment to the SW Electricity Board.

Over the years he rose up the ladder, working as an engineer at several different types of power station before moving to CEGB HQ. Here he became Nuclear Emergency Planning Officer for England and Wales, “which was very ‘challenging’, as you can imagine, as I was in this role when the Chernobyl disaster happened,” he says.

“I later became part of a team of CEGB engineers who worked with the Ukrainians to help them avoid future accidents, and received a Chernobyl Medal. Later still I worked with the Ukrainian nuclear operator (Energoatom) looking at how they would operate in a more western style regulatory and open market environment.”

After the privatisation of the power industry, Trevor worked as Head of Operational Trading for British Energy, later becoming a consultant for energy-related organisations across Europe and Asia before retiring in 2007.

Inspiring and engaging the next generation

Throughout his career Trevor has been a Member – and often chaired – many of the IET’s local and national committees, and continues to volunteer as a Fellowship and professional development scheme accreditation assessor.

He’s always been particularly drawn to the IET’s work to inspire and engage the next generation of engineers, which is why he’s been closely involved in the Scholarships and Bursaries Council over the years.

During his time as Chair, he was integral to the creation of the IET Diamond Jubilee Scholarships, which supported engineering students via funding of up to £4,000, free IET membership and professional development support, and together with Professor Sir John O’Reilly, helped set up the A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize.

The importance of IET awards and scholarships

“Through my volunteer work I’ve been able to talk to a large number of people that have benefited from IET awards and scholarships,” he says. “It’s been fantastic to be able to enable or help these young people, some of whom would have otherwise struggled financially.

“Bearing in mind we have a shortage of engineers – not just in the UK, but across the world, we’re not just helping individuals, but also industry, and in turn the human race!

“And that’s just on the undergrad side. I’ve also been closely involved in the IET’s Postgraduate Scholarships, supporting incredibly bright engineers doing some fantastic things. By helping fund their research, there could be considerable benefits to society as a whole!”

Encourage and enable

By leaving a gift in their wills to the Futures Fund, Trevor and his wife feel that they can continue to encourage and enable the next generation of engineers even after they’re gone, and would invite others to consider doing the same.

“It all depends on personal circumstances, but anything you can give is worth adding to the pot and will always be welcomed. I mean, 1,000 people giving a fiver is as good as one person giving £5,000. Just because you don’t think it’s a lot of money, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worthwhile,” he concludes.