A FORMER Furness College student has been awarded a prestigious scholarship.

Joshua Ashley has been awarded the 2020 Whitworth Senior Scholarship, which will support his PhD into plasma facing materials as part of nuclear fusion research at Manchester University.

In 2012, Joshua began his career as an apprentice designer at Barrow’s BAE Systems Submarines, before studying at Furness College and receiving a first class BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering from Lancaster University.

Entering the industry later than his peers, Joshua revealed he was grateful for the support from the Whitworth Society, and IMechE, one of the contributors to the society.

He said: “The thing that strikes a chord with me is that the Society recognises and promotes the idea that there’s two routes, and both are equally valid.

“For me, the appeal of the Whitworth Scholarship is that it recognises academic ability but also vocational ability.

“I like working with my hands as much as I do with pen and paper, and while I can’t vouch for the quality of my own work, working in the shipyard gave a real insight into the skill and talent present in the various trades.”

Additionally, Joshua has spent five years working voluntarily as council secretary for the Barrow & District Association of Engineers and sits on the BDAE Bursary Committee, which funds bursaries for young people.