Sainsbury Management Fellows

Lord Sainsbury’s Speech 2018, Delivered by SMF James Raby

It is always a great pleasure to come to these dinners because not only is the Sainsbury Management Fellows scheme a great success, but over the years it has also quietly and steadily taken on new initiatives to widen the scope of its influence.

This is why the Trustees of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation agreed this year to support the Sainsbury Management Fellows’ request to increase the amount of the individual scholarships from £30,000 to £50,000. We firmly believe that the Sainsbury Management Fellows’ scheme has proved its worth over the past 31 years and we want it to continue to flourish in the years to come.

As you know the original idea behind the scheme was to attract into industry some of the best and brightest young engineers by enabling them to acquire the business skills which would help them rise quickly to the top of large British companies or to set up their own high-tech businesses.

The reason I thought that this was important is that I strongly believe that if you want the leaders of major companies to be entrepreneurial they must be people who understand the technologies of their businesses and the needs of their customers.

This is something I feel even more strongly about today than I did when the Sainsbury Management Fellows Scheme was set up. The more that I have looked at the economic performance of UK industry over the years the more I have become convinced that the major cause of its relatively poor performance in world markets is a lack of innovation.

And if we are going to change that we need many more engineers at the top of UK industry who understand the opportunities for innovation in their industries and can create the capabilities in their companies to take advantage of them.
It is for all these reasons that I take great pride in the success of the Sainsbury Management Fellows Scheme. Today there are 345 Sainsbury Management Fellows, including those now at business school. It is estimated that over 160 Fellows have founded or co-founded businesses with a total value of over £4.8 billion and created over 19,000 jobs. And over 40% of Fellows currently hold executive board roles and 33% have non-executive roles. It is hoped that by increasing the amount of the Sainsbury Management Scholarships, we will help counteract the rising costs of tuition fees and encourage more engineers to apply and thus enhance the impact of the Scheme in the future.

In addition to having a positive impact on the UK economy, Sainsbury Management Fellows continue to do the very important work of promoting engineering as an exciting, well paid and fulfilling career to young people. EngineeringUK recently published a report, which at its most positive, projects that we will have a shortfall of 20,000 graduates entering into engineering jobs. I am delighted that this year, the Sainsbury Management Fellows have further extended their participation in programmes to encourage young people to become engineers and to develop their skills to make a difference to Society. I would like congratulate President David Falzani, who was given an MBE in November in recognition for his services to engineering and enterprise. David is one of many Fellows who have devoted their time and efforts over the years. There are so many wonderful examples of how Fellows have gone on to contribute to the UK economy, to encourage young engineers and to further social progress. Here are just two:

This year Nick Sullivan reports that he has been very busy. He has been working as an Industrial Fellow at the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing, helping the University of Exeter to set up a manufacturing degree apprenticeship and managing the company that he founded, Heritage Independent Living. Nick’s company provides home care that places equal importance on mental and physical well- being of seniors and is on course for 50% growth this year.

Mentoring has been the cornerstone of how the Sainsbury Management Fellows help engineering students. Chris Shelley CEO of Dymag, a company which produces racing wheels, spoke of his history with RAEng Leaders Scholar and mentee Arnaud Doko: “I mentored Arnaud for his final 2 years at Bath University, offered him a summer internship at Dymag in his 3rd year and then hired him out of Bath. He is a fantastic young man with great attitude and he is now in charge of all our products testing and certification programmes after 18 months. I’ve just flown him to join me in Detroit to make technical presentations to GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler R&D teams. He has developed so fast.”

As you can see from Chris Shelley’s story, the selection and mentoring of the RAEng’s Engineering Leaders Scholarship Programme is very important in developing young engineers and can lead to amazing outcomes. I am also pleased that Sainsbury Management Fellows have volunteered to help out with the Enterprise Hub, the RAEng’s exciting initiative to encourage business minded UK based engineers to start their own companies.

There are two other specific programmes that show real initiative and have achieved significant results:

This is the fourth year that Sainsbury Management Fellows have supported business competitions at universities which aim to encourage engineering students to consider business courses as part of their education. The competitions challenge engineering students to create a novel product that meets a need in society and demonstrates the use of engineering skills in the creative process. First, second and third cash prizes are awarded and the winning team is paired with a Sainsbury Management Fellow Mentor. These competitions have been very successful and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation has agreed to fund the expansion to 50 universities in the coming years.

A second initiative was launched last year called the Mentor30Engineers Competition. Undergraduate and graduate engineers throughout the UK were invited to pitch for career/entrepreneurship mentoring from 30 SMFs, with each winning applicant being paired with a mentor for 30 hours over 3 years. Applicants were asked to write a short essay on how to solve a current problem in society employing their engineering skill sets. We received some very thoughtful essays and fourteen winners were chosen, nine of whom are with us this evening.

All these schemes demonstrate that there are exciting and rewarding jobs for young people in engineering. It is initiatives such as these that will attract more young people to an engineering career combined with business skills and enhance people’s view of engineering and the contribution it makes to wealth creation and the quality of people’s lives.

Finally, can I say that I am delighted that the fundraising programme has reached the £2.3 million mark. This is excellent progress and it means that you believe in the scheme and share my ambitions for it. I am delighted that many SMFs have already “given back” to the scheme by giving a gift towards the endowment fund. I am very pleased that you are helping to extend the vision of the Fellowship into the future.

I would like to commend the efforts of the fundraising team, especially Deputy Chairman Mike Gansser-Potts, who has stepped down from the fundraising group due to the challenges of his new position.

It is good to have so many invited guests who come from many different economic sectors along with a record number of Fellows here tonight. Enjoy the rest of the evening; please talk to your neighbours about what we can do better and how we can extend the influence and enhance the success of the Sainsbury Management Fellows in the years ahead.

Lord Sainsbury’s Speech 2018, Delivered by SMF James Raby


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The Sainsbury Management Fellows is registered as a charity: Engineers in Business Fellowship, charity number 1147203 and is a company limited by guarantee : 07807250