More than 30 schools, colleges and community groups from across the Humber region will gather at the KCOM Stadium on Sunday 16th July to race single-seat electric kit cars which they've built as part of an innovative education initiative supported by Green Port Hull.
Called Project Blyth, after offshore wind pioneer James Blyth, it uses motorsport to inspire young people to develop enterprise and STEM skills, as part of wider efforts to address the serious shortage of engineers faced by UK industry.
Each team taking part has raised funds to purchase a kit car from Greenpower Education Trust, the charity behind Project Blyth. They were then each assigned a local company mentor' to support them with advice, hands-on help and further funding to help construct the car. On Sunday 16th July, their cars will be put to the test against each other in the Project Blyth finale race.
Pupils from Eastfield Primary School in west Hull will be heading to the event next month to race their Goblin car, which was constructed with the help of mentor Emergency Services Fleet Management (ESFM), who maintain and repair vehicles used by the police, fire service and ambulance service at its facility in Melton.
The Eastfield team created a pop-up shop in Princes Quay back in March, where they worked with ESFM to build the car in front of shoppers, who could see their progress and find out more about what they were doing.
Andrea Roberts, Enterprise Lead at Eastfield Primary School, explained:
Project Blyth has been a fantastic experience for our Year 6 pupils taking part. They were involved right from the start, helping to organise bake sales and school fairs to raise money for the car, and have been guided by ESFM with the build. It's given them a real-life project with a real purpose.
Many had never picked up a tool before Project Blyth and now they have learnt basic construction skills, as well as teamwork and problem-solving. They have even enhanced their maths skills, as we have been testing the car and timing laps, analysing results and putting them into graphs. The pupils have shown enthusiasm and passion and have enjoyed every minute. We cannot wait for the race.
Project Blyth has been awarded funding from Green Port Hull, which is supported by the Regional Growth Fund, to support 10 IET Formula 20+ cars, enhance business engagement with schools and colleges and facilitate the race event. Pupils at Eastfield Primary School also received funding from the Youth Enterprise Bank for the car they'll be racing on 16th July.
Speaking on behalf of Green Port Hull, Leader of Hull City Council, Councillor Stephen Brady said:
We are delighted to be supporting this unique project, to help the next workforce generation gain invaluable skills towards a long and successful career in their chosen industry.
I am very grateful to the schools, young people, parents and the local businesses for supporting the project and look forward to seeing the race and speaking to all of those racing a car, as well as the mentors who have been so vital in this learning experience.
The race is split up into Formula Goblin for primary school children for 9-11 year olds, IET Formula 24 for 11-16 year olds and IET Formula 24 + for 16-25-year-olds. The three best teams will go into the national finals held at Rockingham in Northants.
The cars driven by primary school children reach 15mph, while those for 11 years or older reach 25-30mph. Older participants can scratch-build cars, which means they can design the chassis more aerodynamically which could increase the car's speed to 55mph.
For more information on Project Blyth, visit www.projectblyth.co.uk"