McLaren is championing diversity in motorsport and associated fields with a new programme that empowers young people to consider STEM careers, marked by a visit to a Farnborough school last week.
McLaren launched its STEM challenge day programme at Fernhill School, the first secondary school to sign up for the pilot scheme.
The new programme
Representatives of McLaren Racing included their new Extreme E and first female driver Emma Gilmour and the firm’s STEM ambassador Kenny Kong, who took part in an interactive assembly.
The assembly, which included a Q&A session, allowed pupils to learn about the world of engineering and build their awareness of STEM careers.
The Smallpeice Trust is a partner on the programme and is an educational charity that inspires young people to consider science and engineering careers through events and workshops.
McLaren also brought along its new Extreme E show car, which is part of their plans to promote sustainability in racing; Extreme E races electric cars in remote parts of the world.
The new programme results from an alliance called ‘McLaren Racing Engage’, which includes efforts to diversify motorsport via investment in “grassroots-level education and training” through STEM initiatives, funding and mentorship schemes.
McLaren’s ongoing diversity and inclusion journey
As part of McLaren’s diversity, equality and inclusion agenda and wider sustainability programme, the alliance includes three pillars of focus; sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and community.
McLaren aims to make STEM and Formula 1 careers more accessible to underrepresented groups, including those from less economically privileged backgrounds. This includes a more diverse and inclusive McLaren workforce.
The new STEM programme follows other initiatives led by McLaren to diversify access to industries. This includes a partnership with social enterprise Creative Access called the Creative Access x McLaren Racing Career Development Bursary to encourage underrepresented candidates to enter the creative industries.
The conversation around more diversity in motorsport generally was championed by the Hamilton Commission, a report led by Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and the Royal Academy of Engineering, which has urged the need to increase Black representation in motorsport and engineering.