Australians Freya King and Peter Anderson become one of the first students to join the Randstad Williams Engineering Academy

Yesterday saw Williams announce the first students chosen to join the Randstad Williams Engineering Academy, an innovative new scheme that will see Williams and Randstad mentor students from across the world as they bid to secure a career as Formula One engineers.

Eleven students were selected from a pool of candidates competing in the 2015 F1 in Schools World Finals competition held in Singapore from 13-16th September. F1 in Schools is a global not for profit STEM competition that sees students design, build and race miniature racing cars.

Following a series of written submissions and group exercises that were overseen by a joint Williams and Randstad assessment panel, the eleven students chosen for the Randstad Williams Engineering Academy demonstrated the passion, commitment and raw skills needed to join this exclusive programme. The students were informed of their selection at Wednesday’s F1 in School’s World Finals Gala Dinner in Singapore, with Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams, Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds, and Randstad’s Managing Director for Asia Pacific, Deb Loveridge, making the announcement. The first cohort of students are based in six different countries and comprises;

Ana Andrade, Portugal

George Britton, United States

Maximilian Britton, United States

Devansh Dhard, Germany

Aaron Hannon, Republic of Ireland

Peter Henderson, Australia

Freya King, Australia

William Mattar, United Kingdom

James Rodger, United Kingdom

Rachel Scott, United Kingdom

Declan Southern, United Kingdom

Year one of the Academy officially begins on 1st October 2015 and will see the students complete a series of motorsport themed e-learning modules that have been developed by Williams in partnership with Cambridge University Press, one of the world’s leading educational publishers. Each student has an experienced Williams engineer as a tutor or “mentor” to guide them through the e-learning activities and provide advice on a motorsport career.

Academies designed to identify and train future racing drivers have existed in Formula One for a number of years, but this is the first scheme of its kind dedicated to identifying and supporting a new generation of Formula One engineering stars.

Randstad will be using its global presence and extensive experience of global education systems and vocational skills training to help Williams in the ongoing assessment of the students and will provide practical careers advice and work experience opportunities in their respective home countries.

This is a competitive scheme, with each cohort of students gradually whittled down in numbers based on performance criteria. The goal is for successful graduates of the Academy to join Williams upon completion of their university studies. 

Speaking about the selection process Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer at Williams, said; “Formula One is a global sport and we wanted to spread our net far and wide to identify some of the world’s brightest and best engineering stars. My colleagues and I have been extremely impressed with the talent on display this week at the F1 in Schools World Finals and the first group of students are extremely impressive individuals with a lot of passion. We will now be working with Randstad to give these students an early insight into the skills needed to secure a career in Formula One and we look forward to seeing their progress in the coming years.”  

Randstad CEO Jacques van den Broek said; “We are very excited to have the first students join the Randstad Williams Engineering Academy. Scarcity in STEM profiles is a worldwide issue. Involving a new generation at such an early stage in their academic careers will be crucial to address the skills gap later on. The Academy illustrates our commitment in engineering recruitment and training, and it deepens our partnership with Williams.”

James Rodger, one of the selected students, said; “It’s so overwhelming to have been selected. This was already a very special week, getting the chance to compete at the F1 in Schools World Finals, and to be chosen for the Academy is amazing. To have a word class company like Williams mentoring me going forwards will be so beneficial and will help me progress in my education and career. I’m looking forward to getting started!”

Ana Andrade, a chosen student from Portugal, added; “This is a very exciting programme and the selection progress was very enjoyable too, both at the assessment centre in Singapore and the original application stage. Being able to study engineering with the help of people who really know what they’re doing and are at the top of their field is a very unique opportunity and I’m really looking forward to meeting my mentor.”


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