Today's guest blog is from Nicola Salter, HR Director, Williams
With a declining interest in studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in schools, it is crucial that we reverse this trend and inspire the next generation of budding engineers to come through the ranks. This includes ensuring that young people have the skills needed to work and succeed in a competitive motorsport industry.
Williams Spark, the company’s corporate social responsibility programme, aims to harness this positive energy and spark change for good. Through a range of apprenticeships, work experience and student placement programmes, we can help young people from a wide range of backgrounds start a career in advanced engineering.
This year, Williams is teaming up with AUTOSPORT to create a new annual award that will name an engineering student from a UK university as a rising star of Formula One engineering. The winner will be selected from a list of nominees provided by eight of the country’s leading universities with strong track records in engineering, and supported by Williams with an accelerated career development programme.
We are also launching a new Engineering Academy in partnership with Randstad, which will mentor up to 10 students each year in a long term extra-curricular programme that will help guide a new generation of engineers towards a successful career, be that in Formula One or the broader engineering sector that Williams’ is increasingly branching out in to. The Academy will be global in nature, with students applying from all over the world.
But an interest in engineering must be sparked at an early age. It was for that reason that Williams formed a collaboration back in 2009 with Cambridge University Press that saw the creation of Race to Learn, a Formula One-themed interactive education software protect for use as a teaching tool for 9 to 11 year olds. Small groups created racing teams and worked together to design a racing car and pitch for sponsorship – all based on real Formula One team pursuits.
Through this collaborative approach and targeting young people at every age, Formula One has great potential to spark imagination and act as a catalyst for change.