Banbury secondary school’s trip to formula one site helps encourage more girls to consider career in engineering

Students from Banbury secondary school visit formula one team’s site as part of World Engineer Day

Thursday, 21st April 2022, 12:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st April 2022, 12:39 pm
Futures Institute Banbury students Evie Steiger, Shamima Mahama, Brooke Jackson and Sarah Vamanu take part in activities on a school trip involving F1 Haas and Prodrive with the aim of encouraging girls to think about careers in engineering and STEM. (photo from Futures Institute Banbury)
Futures Institute Banbury students Evie Steiger, Shamima Mahama, Brooke Jackson and Sarah Vamanu take part in activities on a school trip involving F1 Haas and Prodrive with the aim of encouraging girls to think about careers in engineering and STEM. (photo from Futures Institute Banbury)

The Haas Formula 1 Team welcomed pupils from Futures Institute, which has a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) focused curriculum, to provide a bespoke tour of its facilities. The aim of the trip was to encourage more girls to consider pursuing a career in engineering.

The walkaround, which took place to mark World Engineering Day, saw Chief Information Officer Gary Foote guide the year 8,9 and 10 students around the impressive facilities at Haas F1’s Banbury site. This included getting up close with the intricate processes involved in pitstops, working with race engineers to decode telemetry and sitting down for a Q&A session with female staff to learn about their career paths.

Futures works closely with a number of local businesses to provide students with an array of work experience opportunities and visibility to industries that have a STEM focus.

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Abi Holloway, an apprentice engineer in the Advanced Technology department of Prodrive, explained her route into engineering, including persuading Prodrive to sponsor her with a degree apprenticeship. She also gave each student a 3D printed blue sheep, which were the test pieces for the 3D printing machines. (photo from Futures Institute)

As well as visiting the Haas F1 Team, the group also toured Collins Aerospace and Prodrive in order to gain a holistic view of the engineering and manufacturing industry.

Ayao Komatsu, director of engineering at the Haas F1 Team, said he hoped the day inspired the girls in attendance to consider going into engineering to address the gender balance in the sector which needs to be improved.

He said: “It was great to show the students around our factory and hopefully we’ve inspired them a little when thinking about their future career paths. We all understand how vital engineering is in the world of Formula 1 and it’s crucial that we make it accessible to the next generation, especially for women where gender balance in the sector needs to be improved. I hope they had a fun day, and know they can rely on Haas for any future support and development.”

Futures student Lizzie Tipton said: “I plan to change my GCSE options to include Engineering as I was so impressed with the trip.’’

Futures Institute Banbury students visit Collins Aerospace with the aim of encouraging girls to think about careers in engineering and STEM. (photo from Futures Institute Banbury)

Evie Steiger added: “It was very impressive to see that Prodrive makes everything from scratch on site.’’

Dr Catherine Pickup, director of project based learning at Futures Institute, said: ‘’Our female students were very excited about the opportunity to spend a day focussed on engineering at Haas, Prodrive and Collins Aerospace. It’s wonderful to have such exciting companies on our doorstep in Banbury.

"Our unique curriculum builds on the Aspirations Academies Trust Applied Transdisciplinary Learning (ATL) and in years 9 and 10 we run specific employability projects in different employment areas including health and engineering.

"These projects develop the 21st century skills if our students like teamwork and creativity. All the projects aim to link to employers. The aim is to develop engineers with circular design skills. Most importantly the girls are keen to understand the range of opportunities that could be available to them in exciting successful companies like Collins, Haas and Prodrive.’’

For more information about the secondary school Futures Institute Banbury see its website here: https://www.futuresbanbury.org/