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Entry ID 1038

By Jacqueline Lopez,2014-05-13 18:27
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Entry ID 1038

National Aimhigher Awards 2009 Aimhigher Partner Award

    With Formula One sensations such as Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton hitting the headlines, it is little wonder that Aimhigher learners

    in Derbyshire are racing to find out about careers in the fast lane. The

    University of Derby‟s motorsport technology team is nominated for this

    award because of its innovative and dedicated work to support Aimhigher

    in raising young people‟s aspirations.

Its projects spark the enthusiasm of pupils who might have imagined

    higher education offers little of interest. The university is among the few

    institutions countrywide to run a BSc (Hons) Motorsport Technology and

    related foundation degrees. Over four years ago, Aimhigher approached

    the course team for assistance with a „Boys into Higher Education‟

    initiative to encourage male pupils to translate their hobbies into courses

    and careers.

Since then, the partnership has matured into a hugely successful

    programme of workshops which not only tap into the appeal of the

    exciting, glamorous world of motorsport but also demonstrate the high-

    level skills and hard academic work required to succeed in the industry.

Each year over 200 pupils enjoy motorsport workshops introducing them

    to everything from computer-aided car design to pit stop skills. Sessions

    take place in the university‟s dedicated motorsport centre and pupils are inspired by meeting staff and students who play an active part in

    motorsport as technicians, officials or competitors and have links to some

    of the industry‟s big names. Feedback has been so positive that an entire

    Aimhigher summer school was built around motorsport technology themes

    in 2008. Almost 30 Year 10 boys and girls were thrilled by a programme

    featuring concepts like aero analysis, computational fluid dynamics and

    rapid prototyping exercises. As well as getting to grips with theory, they

    rebuilt an engine from scratch without the help of manuals. Beforehand,

    few of the group were thinking of applying to university. Afterwards, more

    than half said they would definitely do so. One participant commented:

    “I‟ve had the best two days ever – especially working with the engines

    and the motorbike.” Another added:

    “The aero analysis was out of this world.”

Word is spreading too: the latest group to benefit from the motorsport

    team‟s expertise and enthusiasm comprised 90 boys brought to Derby by Aimhigher West Yorkshire. Parents invited to visit workshops have also

    been overwhelmed, and not a little envious, at the opportunities on offer

    and the course team fully expects to see applications from Aimhigher

    learners in the years ahead.

Aimhigher Development and Activities Officer Mark Launchbury said:

    “Always responsive, professional and inventive, the motorsport technology

    team goes the extra mile to support our activities. Boys and girls alike

    obviously get a buzz out of the workshops, exceed their own expectations,

    and change their attitude about what higher education involves.

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National Aimhigher Awards 2009 Aimhigher Partner Award

    “Equally important is the team‟s emphasis on hard work and the need to

    develop the right skills set and the right mindset: pupils leave

    understanding that they must really apply themselves to gain a coveted

    place on the course. It reinforces so many key Aimhigher messages.”

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