12 local schools are wanted to take part in the next ‘F1 in Schools’, a global competition that encourages young people to build, market, promote and race their own purpose-built cars.
Teams of six pupils – from Years 10 to 13 – can enter and, for the first time in the region, will be supported by the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology (MCMT) and The STEM Workshop.
The two organisations have joined forces to ensure Shropshire has the strongest possible entries and will hold a special launch event on December 6th at the state-of-the-art MCMT training academy in Bridgnorth.
Here schools will be teamed up with a business that will mentor them throughout the project, as well as hearing from Brian Sims (former Commercial Director of Benneton F1), Mark Wemyss-Holden (Engineering in Motion) and engineering social media influencer Chris Greenough (Salop Design & Engineering).
They will also have the rare opportunity to meet with the Champions of Formula 3 from the University of Wolverhampton race team and see up close a Formula 3 car.
Amy Farley, ESF Growth for Skills Compliance Manager at MCMT, is leading on the project: “F1 in Schools is a great way of getting pupils involved in STEM-related subjects, especially engineering and manufacturing.
“This is just the start. In addition to building a car that is powered by a CO2 cannister and capable of completing the 22-metre track, they will also be encouraged to look at how they market and promote their designs and racing team.”
She continued: “Shropshire was the home of the industrial revolution and we’d love to make a real impact in this competition, which is run on a regional, national and international stage.
“We have joined forces with STEM Workshop and local businesses, including MyWorkwear, to come up with a way where we can provide assistance and facilities to help our teams develop the best possible car.”
There are spaces for 12 Shropshire schools and four have already signed-up, including Burton Borough, Hadley Learning Centre, The Marches School and TPS Trust.
These will be assigned local businesses and, so far, the call for industrial support has been well received, with Bauromat, GWR Fasteners, Hexagon Metrology, HCI Systems, SCU Motorsports and Shropshire 3D Print all agreeing to add their commercial knowledge and expertise.
The European Social Fund supported launch event on December 6th, which is being held alongside a Made in the Midlands and MyWorkwear Breakfast Briefing for 50 manufacturers, will give teams the chance to take part in a number of practical workshops that will prepare them and help them understand what is expected of them.
From there, a number of support sessions will be held at MCMT, the University of Wolverhampton and onsite at schools, with the emphasis on making the assistance bespoke to the needs of each individual team.
This may involve using CAD/CAM software, 3D printing, design support or just being able to access the track to test early ideas and more advanced prototypes.
Leanne Mee, Founder of The STEM Workshop, continued: “This is a real opportunity for schools and businesses to work together to develop the next generation of designers, engineers, marketeers and commercial experts.
“We need to make sure Shropshire has a talent pool it can dip into in order to maintain our reputation as a world leader in engineering and manufacturing. And what better way to do that then build, race and win a F1 in Schools competition!”
The F1 in Schools Regional Finals will be held in January 2021 at MCMT and this will be followed by the National and International finals later that year. Entry is just £75+vat per team and this can be paid by the school or the business.