Williams and Randstad have announced the students selected to join the Randstad Williams Engineering Academy’s “Class of 2016” – the second intake of students to join this innovative scheme that sees Williams and Randstad mentor students from across the world as they bid to secure a career as a Formula One engineer.
Nine students were selected from a pool of candidates competing in the 2016 F1 in Schools World Finals competition held in Austin, Texas from 16-18th October. 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 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 last night’s F1 in School’s World Finals Gala Dinner in Austin, with Williams’ Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds, and Randstad’s Chief Innovation Officer in the US, Graig Paglieri, making the announcement. The Class of 2016 are based in five different countries and comprises;
Nathan Bryce, United Kingdom
Katelyn Chelberg, United Kingdom
Michael Chellappah, Sri Lanka
Youngil Ko, South Korea
Amy Martin, United Kingdom
James McDonagh, United Kingdom
Cora Morrow, United Kingdom
Ajinkya Sawant, USA
Jesse Stevens, Australia
Year One of the Randstad Williams Engineering Academy programme sees 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. This is complemented by a number of practical experiences for the students. Randstad uses its extensive experience of global education systems and vocational skills training to help Williams in the ongoing assessment of the students, and also provides practical careers advice and work experience opportunities to the students in their respective home countries.
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. 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.
The Academy officially began in September 2015 and the first intake of eleven students have now completed their first year, with eight students successfully making it through to Year Two which kicks off on 1st November.
Speaking about this year’s selection process Pat Symonds said; “We have been extremely impressed by the calibre of the students who joined us last year. Their passion has been infectious and their progress over the past 12 months, both personally and academically, has been remarkable. It has really validated the decision to set up the Academy and our chosen selection mechanism. The students we have assessed and selected this week in Texas look equally promising. I’m confident we have some future engineering stars on our hands and with the help of Randstad we are committed to nurturing their talent in the years ahead.”
Graig Paglieri, Chief Innovation Officer at Randstad US said; “We are very pleased to partner with Williams in the Randstad Williams Engineering Academy. In the assessment team, we were impressed by the drive and competencies of this new group of students in 2016. Promoting education and career opportunities in STEM profiles is crucial in a labour market where technical skills are in high demand. The Randstad Williams Engineering Academy provides a wonderful platform to engage with these talented youngsters early-on, and support them in building their future.”
Katelyn Chelberg, one of the selected students, said; “I’m really overwhelmed to have this opportunity. I was initially quite nervous going into the assessment centre, but I quickly settled down as everyone on my team was lovely, as were the assessors. The challenges we were set were fun and required a lot of out of the box thinking. Through F1 in Schools I’ve been thinking more and more about career opportunities in Formula One and aerodynamics in particular, and now I have this great chance to learn from and be part of a top team like Williams.”
Jesse Stevens, a chosen student from Australia, added; “Formula One has been my passion for a long time and this Academy is the way to get there and I’m now one step closer to achieving my end goal. I’m glad that 18 months of hard work has paid off and I’m now part of a Formula One team which is an amazing opportunity and I’m just so excited to get started with the Academy.”