The Bursaries Scheme

In 1985, the Company initiated a Student Bursaries & Awards scheme to encourage students in further and higher education to take an interest in the knitting/knitwear industries by entering an annual competition for bursaries and awards, currently to the value of £2,500 and £1,000 respectively. The scheme is funded by Liverymen and the Company’s associated industries.

In addition to its own bursaries the Company administers bursaries and awards donated by others for similar purposes.These include The David Bethel, The Hill Osborne, The HATRA, The Carr Doughty, The Benson Turner, and The Byford Bursary also The Rouse Award and The Howard Russell Ellis Award.

The Company is also The Trustee of three Charities, The Peshall Textile Charity, The Hirst Scholarship Funds, and The Don Gwillim Charitable Trust.

Who can apply?

Students in further and higher education about to enter the final year of a diploma or first degree, on a postgraduate course, or registered for a research degree, are eligible to apply. Students of design, management, marketing, science and technology relevant to the knitting/knitwear industries are eligible for consideration. Applicants are normally British citizens and resident in the United Kingdom.

How to apply

Application forms and information are sent to Heads of Departments or Course Tutors and Students' Unions at the start of each academic year, with a closing date for the receipt of completed applications around mid-October.

Applicants are invited to submit a project or a research topic which, if successfully carried out, could benefit the British knitting/knitwear industries. The completed application form must be accompanied by an outline of the proposed project/topic and a CV. The form must be countersigned by the Head of Department. Each relevant department of a Further or Higher Education Institution may propose up to three applicants in any one year, but no more than two bursaries or awards will be given to any one establishment.

How are the applicants assessed?

All applications received by the closing date are given close consideration by a Bursary & Awards' Committee which comprises Liverymen with direct experience of the industry and/or teaching relevant subjects. The consideration is in two stages.

In Stage One, the applications are subjected to the following criteria:

  1. Is the proposal realistic? Can it be realised within the time-scale set with the machinery and other facilities available to the applicant?
  2. Has the applicant surveyed existing practice relevant to his/her proposal?
  3. Does the proposal have quality and, when completed, could the result be applied with benefit to industry?
  4. Is the proposal innovative? Does it break new ground or bring together existing knowledge/practice in new ways?
  5. Is the proposal timely and is it likely to meet a need?

Unsuccessful applicants and their Heads of Department/Course Tutors are advised of the outcome of the Stage One consideration.

In Stage Two, applicants who meet the criteria in Stage One are interviewed by a group of three or four Committee members at each applicant’s own educational institution. The Committee looks for the following :

  1. Is the candidate articulate and able to explain the proposal well clarifying any queries raised?
  2. Does the candidate have a knowledge of the knitting process?
  3. Does the candidate display a commitment to the industry and have well-placed enthusiasm for his/her own work?
  4. Does he/she appear to have the potential to develop further in ways which could benefit the industry?

Whilst at the College or University, the interviewing committee makes time to discuss the course and its curriculum with the tutors and to see the facilities available. In this way, the Bursary & Awards' Committee is informed of developments in further/higher education relevant to the knitting/knitwear industry.

The interviewing committee reports to the full Committee who, after discussion, make recommendations to the Master and Court of the Company for the disbursement of the bursaries and awards.

What Happens Then?

If and when the recommendations are approved, the successful applicants and their tutors are notified and the Master arranges for a cheque to be sent to each successful applicant.

Whenever possible, bursary and award winners are allocated a “Mentor” who visits them during the period when the project is being developed. The Mentor offers advice, technical and otherwise, and reports back to the Committee.

The Bursary winners are invited to the Company’s Livery Banquet where they are presented with their parchments.

All those interviewed are offered Membership of the Company limited to the Freedom and the Company waive the Joining Fee. Those who take up this invitation may later apply to become Liverymen of the Company, if and when there are vacancies to be filled.