The first schools competition to convert petrol go karts into electric ones will be piloted this summer with six teams from Bolton, Wigan and Lancashire taking part.
The ProtoEV Challenge is the brainchild of Manchester based tech education specialists The Blair Project and Blackburn College’s Regional Automotive technology Hub, with funding from GM Higher and a range of sponsors including NIS, Carbon Performance and PWHytek. Teams will also learn how to design and digitally manufacture parts for their electric karts using 3D printing.
The prototype vehicles will take to the track at Three Sisters Racing Circuit in Wigan 12 June and 17 July and will be tested for performance, design, energy storage and how well the teams work together to problem solve.
Blair Project CEO Nile Henry (22) said “ There is a serious shortage of young people going into tech and engineering in the UK and the current school curriculum is not geared up to address it.
We’re trying to plug that gap, with the help of our growing number of funders and sponsors by providing a project-based learning activity that gives young people the hands on, practical experience they will need, as well as the inspiration and motivation to pursue well paid careers in engineering and tech that they might otherwise not have thought about.”
According to Engineering UK, the engineering sector needs to employ 203,000 new people per year with the requisite skills. The annual shortfall of engineering graduates and engineering-related apprentices is close to 60,000. ProtoEV aims to ensure that young people, and their parents and teachers have a full understanding of the excitement and variety a career in engineering or technology offers.
The ProtoEV initiative is open to students aged 13 -18 years old of all abilities. Each school team will be mentored by an engineering company, and also get to work with further and higher education engineering students. The Blair Project has begun working with international tech partners and gaming specialists in the USA and India to develop a Global E-Learning Platform which will use gamification to teach STEM principles in a way that taps into how young people learn best.
A small delegation of participants and teachers will travel to the USA this autumn to meet organisations wanting to set up the ProtoEV Challenge in their country. It will be the first time that any of the pupils will have travelled outside of the UK, and a video will be made to chart their journey of discovery and aspirational transformation.
This press release and a press picture is available at www.theblairproject.org/gallery