A passion for the automotive industry and mathematics has helped a former Alton College student land her dream graduate job with Mercedes.

Sophia Benson, who did business studies at Alton College, was offered a finance graduate position after impressing bosses in her university placement year.

After leaving Alton College in 2019 Sophia continued her studies at Bournemouth University where she applied for a placement year with Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.

Competition for the placement was fierce but Sophia beat a large number of applicants for a position within the HPP Formula 1 operations team.

During the placement Sophia impressed her managers who then offered her a graduate role starting next month. It will enable her to move around in various areas including advanced technology and Formula 1.

Of Alton College, Sophia said: “I had so much support from my teachers and was able to ask endless questions, giving me the confidence to apply for university and aim for a career in an industry which is male-dominated and often deemed as difficult to enter.

“I also enjoyed being able to complete an extended project qualification alongside my studies allowing me to research a topic I was passionate about, for me this being cars. This has helped me greatly for my dissertation having followed the same idea, giving me the base knowledge needed to start, easing the overall process.”

Asked what advice she would give students, Sophia added: “Use the time to ask questions and try new topic areas to discover what you are passionate about so you can build a career from there. I always liked mathematics but had no idea this would be the path I would choose.”