Beneath Slieve Kirk bright sparks have wind in sails

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Green energy supplier SSE is offering £100,000 in scholarship funding to students living in the vicinity of the Slieve Kirk Wind Park in Ardmore.

It’s the second year the wind power specialist has funded students.

Raymond Henderson, from Londonderry, who is studying an MSc in Stratified Medicine at Ulster University, received funding towards his postgraduate degree last year.

“The SSE Airtricity Scholarship Fund provided me with a real boost towards my studies, both financially and academically,” he said.

“The Scholarship has allowed me to return to university and pursue a career in science, a move that may not have been possible without the support of the Fund.

“I would wholeheartedly encourage any potential undergraduate or postgraduate student to make an application for the programme, and to take full advantage of the meet and greet programmes that are a part of the scholarship.”

The Scholarship, which totals almost £100,000 annually, was unveiled by Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry with Chairman of SSE Ireland Mark Ennis.

The SSE Airtricity Scholarship is directly supported by the Regional Fund from SSE’s Slieve Kirk Wind Park, Northern Ireland’s largest wind farm. The Scholarship is open to applicants living in Co Londonderry and is designed to provide funding support from wind energy to students living in the vicinity of Slieve Kirk Wind Park who are going forward to Third Level education.

Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry said: “SSE Airtricity is to be congratulated for its initiative in providing this scholarship. The company’s scheme provides very welcome support to a number of high performing students. The focus on engineering, computing, life and health sciences, management and leadership aligns with a number of my Department’s priorities and with the needs of the economy in Northern Ireland. It is very encouraging to see a local business investing in the future of our young people.”

Mark Ennis, Chairman of SSE Ireland, said: “When we launched the Scholarship last year we said it was all about supporting the educational future of the next generation through local energy. After one year, we’re extremely proud of the success of our inaugural Fund having supported more than 20 students in gaining access to high quality education at two of Northern Ireland’s most outstanding educational institutions.

“Supporting Third Level education involves a large financial commitment and through the Scholarship Fund, we are able to make the educational aspirations of families local to our new wind farms a reality. The Scholarship demonstrates the company’s continued commitment to working in partnership.”

Applicants must hold an unconditional offer for a place on the first year (2015/‘16) of a qualifying course from either Ulster University or South West College. Full details and the Scholarship terms and conditions are available at www.Ireland.sse.com.