Science, engineering and math; these subjects can strike fear into any young student’s heart. When it comes to (perceived) level of difficulty and effort, the humanities look like a less anxiety-inducing option. Luckily, current practitioners of the sciences, along with the help of a supercar builder, are getting kids revved-up on the once feared foci.
- There is a shortage of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students entering into the automotive field.
- At the Goodwood Festival of Speed, McLaren and Goodwood Education Trust aimed to inspire kids to pursue STEM studies.
- Kids, and their parents, got to interact with McLaren engineers and STEM ambassadors.
- For the event, McLaren brought out the impressive LEGO McLaren Senna, a full-scale, interactive model.
Science, technology, engineering and maths, referred to as “STEM” in education-circles, have gotten a bad rap. Their reputations steer students away before they even have a chance to check out what studying these subjects has to offer in terms of career opportunities. And, that’s why there’s a shortage of STEM students entering into global racing, automotive and technology companies.
Inspiring The Next Generation Of Scientists And Engineers
At the Goodwood Festival of Speed, McLaren and Goodwood Education Trust teamed up to show students just what they are missing. On the first two days of the Festival, McLaren took to the proverbial lectern with a series of talks given by its engineering talent and STEM ambassadors designed to inspire the next generation of students to pursue careers in the automotive industry.
Whether the students were pre, tween or a teen, there were presentations and speaking engagements to inspire all ages. Teenagers from about 18 schools from West Sussex and Hampshire were treated to seminars run by the Goodwood Education Trust, while primary school age kiddies and upwards interacted with the ambassadors on the McLaren Automotive stand.
If that wasn’t enough, McLaren brought out the big guns. Featured on its stand, the full-scale LEGO McLaren Senna car provided the backdrop for children and their parents to talk to STEM ambassadors about what it’s like to work at a modern, cutting edge engineering and science company.
The LEGO McLaren Senna
It took 30 model builders, 5,000 hours and 468,000 bricks to construct this nearly 3,748 lb model. And, this full-scale McLaren Senna isn’t just a static aesthetic piece—which would be pretty impressive on its own. It’s an interactive playground of McLaren’s most spectacular hotrod outfitted with a real McLaren Senna seat. Kids could get behind the wheel to experience working sound, lights and a selection of controls.
“We’re passionate about science and engineering at McLaren and want to use that, and our amazing products, to help inspire the next generation to value science, maths, engineering and technology,” said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive. “Working closely with Goodwood means we have a great opportunity at the Festival to promote STEM careers and to showcase to girls, boys and parents alike what a fulfilling and exciting career they can have by studying STEM subjects at school and beyond.”
McLaren nailed it! When race cars and LEGOS are part of a career package offered by STEM studies, who wouldn’t want to embark on the adventure—whether boy, girl or post-teen female journalist?
Promoting STEM Through McLaren’s Network
The program at the Goodwood Festival of Speed isn’t Goodwood and McLaren’s first rodeo—although they really went all out with this one. The two already have a longstanding relationship promoting science subjects that lead to STEM careers.
Part of their joint mission includes supporting the UK STEM Awards in partnership with the BBC and LEGO. The BBC offers educational science programming on the airwaves, while LEGO takes STEM talks on the road to different regions through McLaren’s retailer networks.
As a dangling carrot to get kids revved up about STEM careers, previous winners of the UK STEM Awards have landed permanent roles at McLaren.
In addition to compelling programs to inspire STEM students, that weekend the ID.R., Volkswagen’s all-electric supercar, broke the 20-year standing speed record. Yes, you read that correctly. An all-electric vehicle smoked its combustion-engine counterpart.
If you were in attendance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, you got to participate in one hell of an event.