Earlier this year, our Young Innovator Prize initiative awarded one talented Birmingham student a sponsored undergraduate degree at Birmingham City University in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (CEBE).

We caught up with our winner, Malik Sheryar-Karamat from St Alban’s Academy, Birmingham, about how he found the process, his career ambitions and what he’s most looking forward to about starting university.

Congratulations Malik on winning the Young Innovator Prize which will see you start at Birmingham City University in September! How do you feel?

I feel a little shocked but at the same time, ecstatic and very proud of my achievement.

What does winning the prize mean to you?

Winning the prize means I’ll be lucky enough to go to a fantastic university and have a debt-free degree so won’t have to worry or stress about paying back a very large loan for the rest of my adult working life.

How did you find the live final?

The live final was nerve-racking because it meant so much to me but exciting at the same time because it’s such a great opportunity. Once I got on stage though, the adrenaline kicked in and kept me going throughout my presentation!

The Young Innovator Prize is all about encouraging more young people to take up a STEM subject. We’re delighted to hear that you’ll be studying mechanical engineering at university – what interests you most about this area?

I’ve always had an interest and passion for cars so you could say this is where my love of mechanical engineering started. I’m also fascinated by the constant advancement of technology in this area.

What are you most looking forward to about university life?

I’m looking forward to getting involved in exciting projects and being constantly immersed in something I enjoy and have such a strong passion for. I’m also looking forward to the social aspect of university life and getting to meet new people.

Birmingham City University is a great university and I really like that it partners with real-life companies to give students a taste of what working life will be like.

What are your career aspirations once your degree is finished?

I hope to be working for one of the big engineering or car manufacturing companies after my degree.

What advice would you give yourself if you had to apply for the Young Innovator Prize all over again?

I would tell myself not to stress too much because, even if you don’t win, it’s a really great experience to be part of. I would also say to prepare and rehearse really well and make sure I knew all of my facts just in case I got any questions during my presentation!

(Pictured: Malik Sheryar-Karamat from St Alban’s Academy, Birmingham – winner of the Young Innovator Prize)