Jenson Button and Santander Universities accelerate female engineering career prospects with the launch of STEMships

  • Santander Universities launches inaugural STEMships programme dedicated to supporting aspiring women engineers
  • Jenson Button joined Santander UK CEO Nathan Bostock at the 2019 Formula Student global competition at Silverstone to announce the first-ever STEMship beneficiaries
  • Two-year engineering support initiative aims to address the lack of diversity within the UK engineering industry

Santander UK has launched its inaugural STEMships programme dedicated to supporting female engineering students at universities across the country. The new initiative aims to support and incentivise more women to embark on a career in the UK engineering industry and responds to the skills shortage challenge currently facing the country’s engineering sector(1).

Thirty up-and-coming women engineers were announced(2) as the first-ever beneficiaries of the Santander Universities STEMships initiative by Santander UK’s CEO Nathan Bostock and ambassador Jenson Button at the 2019 Formula Student global competition at Silverstone this weekend.

Recent qualitative research by Santander Universities identified a number of barriers cited by female students as deterring them from considering engineering as a degree and a career path. These include: difficulties with funding an engineering degree; a shortage of engineering networks and communities designed to support women; and a lack of women engineer role models – with a recent report by the Women’s Engineering Society(3)revealing that just 12.37% of all engineers in the UK are female.

Santander Universities’ inaugural STEMships programme aims to break down the barriers for women entering the engineering industry by providing aspiring female engineer students with the dedicated tools, resources and opportunities needed to succeed in the industry post university.

The thirty students will embark on a two-year support programme which offers: a £1,500 scholarship; an overseas experience at a leading engineering institution; unique networking events with prominent female leaders in the industry; membership to the Women’s Engineering Society; and mentorship and internship schemes through Santander’s wider networks.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK commented: “We’re thrilled to be launching our unique STEMships to support and inspire the next generation of women engineers from across the UK. Having worked closely with Formula Student teams across our partner universities, we recognise the challenges facing female engineering students as they look to embark on careers in the industry. We hope the programme will support them with their career ambitions.”

Jenson Button commented: “Getting more women into engineering is vital for the future of the industry so I’m really pleased to be supporting the launch of the Santander Universities STEMships programme. I’ve worked with amazing female engineers in my career, but we need many more to enter the field if the UK is to continue to be a leader on the world stage.”

Ahead of the announcement of the STEMship beneficiaries, Jenson took part in a discussion panel hosted by the face of Formula E, Nicki Shields on the topic of women in engineering and how to cultivate the next generation of female engineering talent. Joining Jenson on the panel was Nikki Rimmington, Vice President and Chief Planning Officer for Aston Martin Lagonda, Professor Karen Holford CBE, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University and Clare Sibley, Head of Materials Science at the Williams F1 Team.

Santander Universities funds eleven of the Formula Student teams competing teams as part of its overall initiatives to inspire the next generation of engineers and encourage the study of STEM subjects. Since 2007, Santander Universities has invested £80m in supporting UK students and universities.

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Notes to Editors

  1. In 2017, a Report on the State of Engineering in the UK concluded that we still have an estimated annual skills shortfall of up to 60,000, meaning that we need to at least double the number of UK university engineering students in order to meet industry demands. According to a Women's Engineering Society’s WES Statistics, engineering is very important to the UK - it contributes 26% of our GDP or £127,580,000,000 to our economy.
  2. Professor Karen Holford CBE, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University, alongside two academies from partner universities, selected the thirty winners from a total of 81 applications from those studying either Mechanical or Electrical engineering at UK partner universities. Winners were chosen based on those who had demonstrated excellence in their first year studying Engineering and who had shown the greatest determination to succeed in an engineering career.
  3. Research from the Engineering UK report 2018 report highlighted only 12.37% of all engineers are women in the UK.

About Us

Santander Universities
Santander, through Santander Universities, tops the list of Fortune 500 in investment in education (Source: Varkey Report/UNESCO). The Bank has established partnerships with over 1,200 universities in 20 countries, of which over 80 are in the UK. Through these agreements Santander promotes entrepreneurship, employability and internationalisation. For further information please  visit:

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 31 December 2018, the bank has around 24,000 employees. It serves around 15 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking; and 64 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas, and is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. At the end of 2018, Banco Santander had EUR 981 billion in customer funds (deposits and mutual funds), 144 million customers, 13,000 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 7,810 million in 2018, an increase of 18% compared to the previous year.

About Formula Student

Formula Student is Europe's most established educational engineering competition and is organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Backed by industry and high-profile engineers such Patron, Ross Brawn OBE, the competition aims to encourage young people to develop their skills and take up a career in engineering. Each year, Formula Student sees over 100 university teams from around the globe design, build and race their cars on the famous Silverstone track.

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