Jon Dennison Bursary

In honour of the late Jon Dennison, the Jon Dennison Bursary Fund has been created to enable the next generation of aerospace engineers realise their potential.

Jon Dennison enjoyed a distinguished and successful career in aerospace and engineering, with roles in government and industry. Sadly, he passed away at the end of last year; this bursary in his memory aims to honour the passion Jon had for enabling young people to realise their potential irrespective of their financial circumstances.

Jon made a celebrated contribution to aerospace. His final role was as Director of Government and External Affairs for GKN in addition to which he chaired the engagement group of the Aerospace Growth Partnership. He leaves a valuable legacy in helping secure the future of the industry by championing the prospects that careers in aerospace offer to young people of all educational levels.

Jon’s children Megan, Francisca and Dylan said: “Our father was always passionate about helping young people who have ambitions, but are restricted in accessing the tools and platforms to assist them in achieving their goals.

“This was something extremely important to him as he believed that every young person deserved the opportunity to learn, and hoped that one day he would be in a position to make a difference to people that faced these challenges.

“It saddens us that he is no longer here to carry out his plans but he would be incredibly proud that he is leaving behind a legacy which will help so many young people make something of themselves. He was an incredible man with a massive heart and we are so proud to have his name associated to this wonderful scheme and wish everyone involved huge success.”

The bursary fund of £36,000 aims to encourage the next generation of aerospace engineers by offering selected young people free places on EDT Headstart Courses. With a focus on young people from disadvantaged backgrounds – for example those from schools or neighbourhoods with a low university participation rate – it reflects Jon’s heartfelt principles and beliefs.

Colin Smith, new industry co-chair of the AGP said: “This is a fitting tribute to Jon who was an outstanding figure; the success of the UK’s aerospace industry is dependent on the next generation of engineers and this bursary will ensure the brightest and the best can make their way through with the financial help they need. Jon is much missed; through this bursary he can continue to play a valuable part in our industry’s future.”

More information can be found at

Jon Dennison’s distinguished career in aerospace and engineering included roles at: the Department of Trade & Industry; the Society of British Aerospace Companies (now ADS); GKN Westland Helicopters/ Finmeccanica (now Leonardo), and GKN.

GKN contributed £20,000 to the bursary in Jon’s honour, with the rest made up by other organisations.

Headstart is a UK-wide programme, provided by STEM education charity Engineering Development Trust (EDT), which provides an opportunity for 16 to 17 year olds to spend up to a week at a UK university prior to making their UCAS application.

Young people can make important degree and university choices based on real experience because they:

• participate in practical problem solving activities

• attend lectures and seminars

• visit local companies

• experience life as an undergraduate

• meet academics, post graduates and young professionals.

In 2016, 3314 applications were received for 2085 places on 55 courses; 88% of participants state Headstart strengthens their decision to study STEM subjects, and 45% of attendees were female.

EDT is the UK’s largest provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities for more than 30,000 young people age 11-21, annually. EDT specialises in work-related learning programmes linking educators and industry and giving scientists and engineers of the future an amazing opportunity to enhance their technical, personal and employability skills.

EDT coordinates the Industrial Cadets initiative proposed and supported by HRH The Prince of Wales. Industrial Cadets provides employers with an accreditation framework for engaging with young people and a recognised award of for the young person.

The Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) was established in 2013, and is one of the Government’s eleven Industrial Strategies. Through the AGP, industry and Government work together to focus resources on securing the long-term future of one of the UK’s most important, high tech sectors.

The AGP’s Skills Working Group has been working with EDT on developing the Aerospace Industrial Cadets Programme (AICP) to create a long term Aerospace sector identity and coordinate employer engagement opportunities for young people.

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