One hundred girls from Monkton Combe School and surrounding local primary schools – Farleigh, Hanford, Combe Down Primary School, Pinewood and St Martins Garden Primary School – enjoyed a rare and enviable opportunity to spend time getting up close to a Williams F1 racing car as part of an event organised by female motorsport initiative, Girls on Track UK.
As well as learning about the ins and outs of a Formula One car, thanks to Kat Newbery, Composites Design Engineer and Chloe Ward, Parts Usage Manager from Williams Racing, the schoolgirls – all aged between 8 and 11 years-old – also had their eyes opened to the wealth of future opportunities available to them within the world of professional motorsport and other STEM related industries.
On the agenda and somewhat different to an average Friday was: Media tuition and interview skills with respected and experienced Motorsport TV presenter Diana Binks; a fitness workshop with the Batak reaction game; a Pirelli pit-stop challenge where the students actually got to change a wheel on a race car; Lego coding; resuscitation with Girls on Track UK medic; and an engineering exercise using remote controlled model cars – activities all devised to offer a fun yet comprehensive insight into what future careers could be available to them in the world of international motor racing.
Girls on Track UK (formerly known as Dare To Be Different), an initiative started by Susie Wolff and now managed by Motorsport UK, focuses on inspiring, connecting and showcasing females in motorsport as well as through Science, Technology and Maths (STEM) subjects. With active, engaging activity days for schools, Girls on Track UK aims to excite and encourage girls into believing that there is a rightful place for females within the motorsport industry.
“At Monkton we want to inspire pupils and encourage them to think differently, and we hope that today has inspired the girls to believe that they can do anything they put their mind to,” said Monkton Combe School Vice Principal James Goodman. “We also hope that some may go on to pursue a career within a STEM industry.
“The Girls on Track team did an amazing job of creating exciting activities and there was a real buzz amongst the girls all day, so we thank them for putting together such a great event and allowing us to host it.”
Girls on Track UK Programme Manager, Jenny Tcherniak, added, “It was a delight to be spend the day at Monkton Combe School with the girls from here and the surrounding schools. They seemed to love all the activities and of course it was wonderful to have the Williams F1 race car here which added a whole new level of excitement to proceedings!
“With motor racing traditionally regarded as a male-dominated sport, a lot of young girls simply aren’t aware of the breadth of future careers available to them within the industry – from driving to commentating and engineering and everything else in-between. Today was a great opportunity to open their eyes to the possibilities that exist and change this age-old perception.”