STUDENTS at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College are being offered the chance to work at the pinnacle of the engineering world.

Lotus F1 is offering eight appenticeship places to students at the college’s Bicester campus, with bosses picking from a group of 21 who visited the team’s headquarters at Enstone.

The group, who are studying motorsport engineering, was split into three teams and set tasks to test their core engineering skills, logical thinking and how well they dealt with setbacks.

A shortlist will be drawn up based on their performance.

Individuals will then be interviewed before the final group of eight is selected.

Jamie Underwood, 18, was one of the OCVC students who took part in the first session.

He said: “I have wanted to work in motorsport since about the age of four.

“The company want us to start in May and I am ready for that if I am chosen.”

About 500 workers are based at the Enstone facility producing the cars that Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean powered to second and third place in the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

Lotus chief operating officer Thomas Mayer said: “We want to give young people the opportunity of working in motorsport.

“It will be good to train them in our culture.

“While we take graduates from university, this will be a first for us and we are excited about it.”

The three-year apprenticeship will see the group working at Lotus while continuing their studies at the college for a day-and-a-half for the first six months before they are assessed on site as they build up to an NVQ Level 3 qualification.

They could be involved in a range of activities – from working on the bodyshells or exhaust systems, to computer aided design.