A STUDENT from Balfron has been awarded a prestigious scholarship which will help him pave his way to becoming an expert in the energy and environmental sectors.

Finlay Clark, 22, will study an integrated masters degree in mechanical engineering with Renewable Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, thanks to the ScottishPower Foundation’s Scholarships programme.

Twenty-eight students were awarded the grants following a nation-wide application process and have taken up places at some of the UK’s most esteemed institutions for the next academic year.

For the first time, two UK students will venture overseas to study at the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas in Madrid, Spain.

Since it was launched in 2010, the ScottishPower Foundation has invested more than £850,000 in the scheme, however this year sees an increased focus on developing the next generation of industry experts with an unprecedented investment of approximately £700,000 in this year’s programme.

Newly incorporated degrees such as information and communication technology (ICT), cybersecurity and big data management have been included to reflect the demand for modern technology roles in the sector, and to continue to offer graduates an opportunity to progress training in a sustainable energy model in their chosen field.

Finlay said: “The ScottishPower Foundation Scholarship will give me an opportunity to make connections with key industry players and the chance to network all over Europe.

“I know the programme will allow me to meet people in the industry I might never have been able to and I feel really proud to be one of the chosen scholars.”

Finlay predicts an exciting future for engineers, with so many upcoming projects in the pipeline.

He said: “I think the energy sector will change more than any other in the next 10-20 years, with a huge focus on reducing emissions and the potential for subsidised free offshore wind in Scotland.

“For that reason, my ideal job would be working in wind power, ideally in a consultancy firm or as a contractor in offshore wind development.”

Ann McKechin, trustee and executive officer of the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “We’re delighted for this year’s scholars and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead of them.

“It’s so important that graduates continue to be motivated to continue their journey of development in the industry, and we’re proud that we can be a part of this and help support young people in the UK to take the both the environmental and energy sectors forward.”