A female BBG Academy pupil poses with the electric kit car by Greenpower- a project that encourages diversity in STEM.

School pupils across Bradford have been tasked with building and racing their own electric kit cars thanks to an innovative new education partnership.

Bradford College is supporting the charity Greenpower Education Trust to launch the first Formula 24 Challenge in West Yorkshire. The project will give local 11-16-year-olds the chance to build and race a Greenpower kit car using a donated frame and components for a battery-powered engine.

Single-seater kit cars were delivered to nine Bradford secondary schools, including Oastlers Keighley, Tong Academy, Parkside School, and BBG Academy. Students will now team up to start their electric kit car construction, designing and sourcing the bodywork themselves with an emphasis on using eco-friendly materials.

Schools will also receive expert technical coaching and masterclasses from experts such as the Bradford College Motor Vehicle team. When complete, it is hoped that pupils will race the cars in a Formula 24 Grand Prix in Bradford city centre.

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Sarah Towan, Vice Principal for Recruitment & Communications at Bradford College, said:

“As a leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) training in the city, Bradford College is very excited to support the Greenpower Formula 24 Challenge. This is an exhilarating project for local students, giving them the opportunity to explore design principles and improve planning, creativity, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.

“It’s vital that we engage more young people in STEM subjects to help address future skills gaps and improve diversity across critical industries in the UK. Unique projects like this help to put theory into practice and showcase varied careers at a time when young people are beginning to think about their future.”

Oastlers School Head of Centre Robert Fairbairn added:

“We found out about the opportunity to build and race an electric car through conversations with colleagues at Bradford College. We see this as a great opportunity to motivate our young people to participate, opening their eyes to the possibilities across a range of subjects in school. Building and racing the car will show them learning can be fun and, at the same time, inspiring. It will also open up exciting conversations with local employers, and our aim is to encourage them to take an active part in the design and building of our car.”

The Formula 24 season runs from April to October, with regional race heats taking place all over the country until the end of September. Around 30 events take place across the UK every year. An International Final is then held in October for teams that qualify from across the globe.

Vaughan Curnow, Community and Education Development Manager at Greenpower Education Trust, said:

“Greenpower is all about engineering and social inclusion, so Bradford is an excellent fit for this aspirational initiative. We want to showcase STEM jobs and careers to a diverse range of students who may not otherwise get a hands-on opportunity like this.
 
“The Formula 24 Challenge builds confidence and self-esteem, as well as teaching transferrable skills in marketing, fundraising, design and more. Thanks goes to Bradford College for being so supportive in the rollout of the project. Together, we hope to get even more schools, employers, and sponsors involved to enhance the project further.”

The Bradford Formula 24 Challenge team is interested in talking to engineering and motor vehicle employers or local businesses who may be interested in supporting the event – either partnering with a local secondary school to design and build the racing car or sponsoring the Grand Prix event. Contact Sarah Faulkner at Bradford College via the Bradford College switchboard for more details.

For further information about the Formula 24 Challenge and electric kit cars, visit the Greenpower Education Trust or Bradford College websites.

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