Sir James Dyson has hailed the fact that over a third of students at his engineering institute are women, as demand for places at the university rockets.

The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology has welcomed 43 undergraduate engineers in its second cohort, 40 percent of which are female.

It takes the total number of women enrolled in the degree course to 26 out of 76 at the Malmesbury-based campus in Wiltshire.

Sir James said: “I am thrilled to be welcoming these bright young people to The Dyson Institute. They are opting for something new and exciting – I am looking forward to seeing what exceptional things they achieve over the next four years.

“Our second cohort of Dyson Undergraduates is nearly half female which is good news given that engineering has traditionally attracted so few women.”

The Institute said this has been achieved through “targeted recruitment”.

Dyson test trackInventor Sir James Dyson at the Dyson HQ in Malmesbury, Wiltshire (PA)

According to the Women in Engineering Society, the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineers in Europe at just 11% of the total workforce.

Women make up just 15.1% of those on engineering undergraduate courses in the UK as a whole, and Sir James said that by 2025 Britain will be 1.8 million engineers short.

The 43 school leavers were amongst 950 to apply this year, which Dyson said made it one of the most competitive higher education degrees in the UK with 22 applications for each place.

“Alongside the challenging demands of their degree studies they will quickly be contributing to the next generation of Dyson products which will be used all around the world.

“They trust us with their education and in return they will learn from some of the best engineers in the world, develop real products from day one, earn a salary, and pay no tuition fees,” Sir James added.

The Brexit-backing technology tycoon is investing £31.5 million into the institute and Dyson has also started work on a second 517-acre campus at Hullavington in Wiltshire.

It will be the launchpad for Dyson’s electric cars, which it will start selling from 2021.

MP Robert Halfon said: “The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology is the future – it’s how all universities should be run.

“They really are ground-breaking and should be congratulated on their understanding of the future of education.”