A University of Bath student has been recognised as one of the UK’s top young engineering talents after winning a place on a new national scholarship programme.

Hannah Thomas, a third-year Integrated Design Engineering master’s student, was named as one of the first 30 winners of a place on the Santander Universities STEMships Programme, which has been established to accelerate the number of women entering engineering careers in the UK.

She earned entry to the programme by attaining impressive results during her degree course and securing high-quality industry placements including a year at Williams Advanced Engineering. Hannah’s prize comprises two years’ worth of support, including access to networking events and mentorship schemes with female industry leaders, membership of the Women’s Engineering Society, a £1,500 scholarship, and an overseas experience at a leading engineering institution.

She said: “I was really surprised to win and it’s so nice to be recognised in this way. The work I’ve done during my studies and at Williams has been really rewarding, so I’m excited to see what kind of opportunities the Santander Universities STEMships Programme will provide and what I can learn from it.

“Once I’ve completed my master’s, I’m hoping to work somewhere within the automotive industry as I’ve loved working at Williams. I’ve already seen some of the parts I’ve designed being made and it’s really exciting to know they’re being used in practice, so I’d love to keep doing that in future and to see where it leads.”

The award was presented by 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button, who is himself an honorary graduate of the University of Bath, during an event held alongside Formula Student at Silverstone last weekend. Lauren Nilsson, who is studying for a master’s in Aerospace Engineering at Bath, was also nominated for one of the scholarships.

Professor Semali Perera, academic lead for University’s Student Women’s Engineering Society (WESBath), said: “Huge congratulations to Hannah and Lauren – it’s great to see their superb efforts at the University and during their placements have been recognised in this way.

“We will always encourage our female students to take advantage of the wide variety of opportunities careers in engineering can provide. Programmes such as this one, which aims to make the industry more diverse and representative, are clearly to be applauded.”

WESBath helps female students within the Faculty of Engineering & Design to enter engineering-related jobs by organising events and building links with alumni working in the industry. It was established in 2014 and is affiliated with the UK Women’s Engineering Society.

The partnership between Santander Universities and the University of Bath spans nearly 20 years and now totals almost £2 million in funding and support. This has been used to transform PhD researchers’ international experiences, boost Olympic athletes’ achievements, aid student enterprise and entrepreneurship, and create work experience opportunities.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK added: “We’re thrilled to be launching our unique STEMships to support and inspire the next generation of women engineers from across the UK. We hope the programme will support them with their career ambitions.”

Santander STEMships recipients with 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button