Inspiration for Innovation Year 2 Aims High

Let’s start with highlighting the vital role of our volunteers within the Inspiration for Innovation (I4I)  programme and giving a big shout out to all of those businesses who supported last year in varying and important ways – Delta Motorsport, Hexagon Metrology, CBRE Group, CMC Media, Ducati UK, Expion, Longhurst Ltd, MEPC Silverstone Park, Performance Projects Ltd, Sales Out Ltd, Straight 6 Design, TD Group Ltd, TotalSim, ZetaSafe Ltd, Punch Flybrid Ltd, Wirth Research, Autostrat Europe Consulting and David Brown Automotive.

At the I4I end of year celebration, the inaugural Tom Maccabee award for volunteer of the year was presented by Tim Maccabee MD of Ducati UK to Simon Dowson MD Delta Motorsport and also to Caroline Vooght, Business Unit Director, Expion Search & Selection, for their outstanding contributions thus far. Julia Muir our CEO decided to name this award after Tom an inspirational young man who dedicated much of his life to volunteering and who inspired his father Tim to continue his legacy. It was after Tim’s introduction that Roz and Julia collaborated on the Silverstone I4I project.

We have some new additions to the network, thanks for coming forward, Edge Tech Headhunters, Tomorrow’s Journey,  Chris Zachar at The Wheelrights Partnership, Anthony White of Silverstone Composites and Ella Barrington of Corse Concierge. Keep the introductions coming to [email protected], please. Your experience and skills will definitely be called upon as September rolls out.

Coming up, we will also be taking some time to feature some of the programme supporters, including our volunteers and school staff in website and social media articles so that you can get a flavour of what they are all about. Watch this space.

Currently, we’re curating the content of the Inspirational Events themed as ‘Jobs of the Future’ and aimed at Y8 /Y9 pupils with the purpose of inspiring and informing their GCSE choices. Of course we’ll be taking into account research from Education and Employers ‘Motivated to achieve’ which sights the advantages to performance at school by students being involved in multiple encounters with role models from the world of work – we refer to ours as ‘real models’, with the ethos that if you can see it you can be it. We are looking to make 30 school visits in total, 10 to each school aimed at Y11,12 and 13 to increase motivation to revise and attainment levels.

Excellent news is that the University of Buckingham are co-sponsors of the I4I programme Inspirational Events this year allowing Gaia Innovation to bring an event to each school involved. It’s a superb boost for the students ensuring additional focus on entrepreneurship and the need for female students to consider computer science. During our last visit to The University of Buckingham at Entfest, we saw first hand how their collaboration with educational organisations is helping to inspire youngsters in the region, bringing them together with young entrepreneurs, other students and business leaders. We’re looking forward to working with the team at The University of Buckingham to bring further options alive for school students on the I4I programme, many of whom may have no idea of what great courses, job opportunities and life experiences university can bring, and for them to learn that these pathways are available to them regardless of their background or gender, and are available locally.

The students are exceptionally fortunate to have VW Group UK involved in The Buckingham School Event who will bring an informative and fun activity as part of the day and will also contribute a VIP speaker, this is a great collaboration brought via our connection to the UK Automotive 30% Club. We look forward to introducing further UK Automotive 30% Club members to the Inspirational Events at Sponne School and Kingsthorpe College.

VW Group UK sponsored this year Inspiring Automotive Women Day which included a fantastic day of activities held at their National Training Centre where female students from 10 schools from various parts of the country got together with VW Group employees, the majority female, to be inspired and informed about the opportunities available in the automotive sector. This also included an ambitious programme of school reach out visits to 30 schools by VWG ‘real model’ females May to July. The message to a wider audience of youngsters aimed to show how the industry is at the forefront of advanced manufacturing and technology having a vast array of exciting and available job opportunities, now and in the future.

Businesses associated with I4I will be hosting 3 tours again this year for 50 students from each of the 3 schools, and we’re confident the new cohort of students from each will have just as much fun as the last, where 91.5% of feedback showed youngsters had learned more about jobs available at Silverstone Park, and 100% had a positive experience.

Finally, for 2019-2020 we have set a goal to reach 5000 meaningful encounters. We’ll be measuring each activity using the IMechE STEM activity evaluation tool and look forward to reporting our results at our end of year celebration which will be held on July 2020 and is kindly co-sponsored by the University of Buckingham and the MEPC Silverstone Park.

Thanks so much to all of our sponsors, supporters and volunteers who will help to make the project happen this year, and positively impact the lives of so many youngsters.

An addition article has been written by our partner, MEPC Silverstone Park and is available to view on their website www.silverstone-park.com