THOUSANDS of pounds will be handed out to local youngsters in a bid to support their ambitions to become engineers.

The Barrow & District Association of Engineers (BDAE) will hold their Annual Bursary Awards on Thursday November 15.

Since 1998 the association has handed out cash bursaries aimed at encouraging local students to study engineering.

This year bursaries totalling almost £ 5,000 will be dished out to more than 40 students from nine local schools, ranging in age from 11 to 18. Two awards are also being presented to students at Furness College who have excelled on engineering courses.

Recipients are nominated by schools and colleges and an annual award of a £1,200 scholarship is awarded to one of the lucky youngsters.

The money comes from a variety of local sponsors, including engineering companies and other firms such as The Mail.

"These contributions are greatly appreciated and enable us to distribute more than £5,000 every year to local students," said John Sykes, BDAE treasurer.

This year also sees the introduction of a new Engineering Design Technology Competition for local schools.

Schools have submitted projects to the competition and the winner will be announced during the awards evening.

The bursaries this year will be presented by one of the sponsors; Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

The presentations will be followed by a talk on thermodynamics by Dr Chris Graves of BAE Systems.

The presentations and lecture will be held at Furness College, Channelside, on Thursday November 15, with the awards beginning at 7.15pm.