15.09.2020

Getting motors running with Beca scholarship win

Big dreams to work in motorsport mechanics, and a clear talent for engineering have secured Timothy Richards the annual Beca scholarship, awarded to an Ara Institute of Canterbury Bachelor of Engineering Technology student.

On Thursday 10 September, final engineering year student Timothy was awarded the $2,500 scholarship during an awards evening event attended by fellow students, tutors and industry. In his scholarship application Richards said, “I have had a passion for inventing and engineering for as long as I can remember. I would often tinker and build objects, much to the amusement, and sometimes dismay, of my family (like when I dismantled appliances!).”

During secondary school Richards spent many lunchtimes exploring his passion for engineering by restoring an old Honda CG110 motorcycle, which he now owns and has since modified by incorporating an engine of a wrecked Suzuki GN250. “In metal-work class, I spent many lunchtimes building sheet metal sculptures, a downhill cart, drift tricycle and a 50cc motorbike; all the while picking up more knowledge about manufacturing.” Amongst other hobbies Richards has built several model aircrafts and in his spare time he continues to research and learn about new innovations in the engineering industry. Luckily for Richards he was able to continue exploring motorbikes in his engineering systems analysis course at Ara when he secured a project to design and build a performance exhaust pipe for competitive racer Glen Hayward. “I spent over 30 hours designing and building the exhaust, because I was deeply interested and even kept working on the exhaust after the course finished.”

Ian Macbeth, Manager – Southern Water at Beca, said, “In both his written application and his subsequent interview, Timothy clearly articulated an enthusiasm for learning and a long-term passion for his chosen discipline of mechanical engineering, starting as a child pulling home appliances to bits.  His story of resurrecting an old motorbike, including installing a much more powerful engine from another wrecked bike, had tones of Burt Munro’s backyard engineering skills. He has clearly thrived at Ara and has spent many hours honing projects beyond the basic requirements of his coursework.”

Richards’ current course project for Ara is with Rodin cars, where he is exploring the speed potential of race cars by helping them to build a ‘zero limits’ race machine. He says working for Rodin would be a “dream job” and he’s planning to put the scholarship money towards his current project with them. “I’m making a scale model to be tested in a wind tunnel to test the aerodynamic performance of the car.” “I would like my future career to be in motorsport of some kind. Ideally, I want to be a driver who is also involved in race mechanics and engineering.”

Macbeth thinks Richards will go far, “Overall, Timothy came across as a well-rounded and focused young man with a clear sense of direction in his career aspirations to be a motorsports driver and race mechanic. We at Beca wish him all the best for his final few months at Ara and beyond in following his motorsports dream.”
This is the fourth time that Beca have awarded the scholarship to an Ara student, after the first was given in 2017.  Ara Institute of Canterbury and Beca have an ongoing relationship through Beca’s active membership of the Employer Programme Advisory Campaign (EPAC). This cooperation enables Ara to receive advice on industry needs and requirements from Beca, feedback on courses and gives the Institute the ability to offer students access to industry events or site visits.

About Ara: Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd is a vibrant, progressive, government-funded institute providing world-class, tertiary-level education. Ara is the Māori word for path or journey. It represents the learning process, the many pathways to success, and the routes and rivers that cross the Canterbury Plains from the mountains to the sea. Ara’s objective is to empower students to build better worlds. They want every Ara student to be equipped for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and they achieve this by providing relevant courses, taught by inspirational mentors in real-life learning environments. Talented staff, innovative industry partners and supportive community play a significant role in contributing to this outcome. Collectively, they’re committed to ensuring that every student has the industry-relevant knowledge, skills and experience they need to get the job they want and to excel in it. www.ara.ac.nz 

Ian Macbeth, Beca Manager – Southern Water, with 2020 scholarship winner Timothy Richards

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