The Blair Project, a Manchester-based provider of STEM education for young people and adults, is seeking secondary schools, colleges and youth clubs across Greater Manchester to register for its upcoming ProtoEV STEM Challenge.

Set to launch in January 2023, the ProtoEV STEM Challenge gives young people from ages 11 to 19 the opportunity to learn how to retrofit petrol go karts and convert them into fully electric ekarts which they get to test and race to see which is the fastest and most energy efficient. In the process, the teams learn about the electrification of transport, and leave equipped with the skills required for a career within the digital, technology or engineering sectors.

Through ProtoEV, underrepresented youth discover talents that they never knew they had; develop skills that industry needs and get hands on with electric vehicle propulsion systems and battery technologies; and discover career progression pathways. The Blair Project is building the schools to employment talent pipeline that the UK needs to reach Net Zero.

The challenge requires students to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacturing, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and life changing way.

The Blair Project seeks to engage young people who may have low awareness of careers in engineering and technology, inspiring them to pursue well-paid careers as innovators, technicians, scientists and engineers. It is focused on championing diversity, inclusion and social mobility in STEM, with a particular focus on growing the pipeline of female, BAME and working-class talent.

Having begun in Greater Manchester in 2018, this year ProtoEV is being rolled out nationally to widen the opportunity to students living in London, Oxford, and the West Midlands in partnership with Oxford Brookes University’s Centre for Motorsport Engineering and University of Birmingham.

Nile Henry, founder and CEO of The Blair Project, said: “This an exciting opportunity for schools, colleges and youth clubs to get involved in something that is truly transformational. Since launching ProtoEV in 2018, 55 students have been involved in the challenge, with 95% going on to pursue further education and careers in STEM.

“We know that there is a diversity problem in STEM and in the world of motorsport but can’t stand by as talent potential is wasted. At The Blair Project, we look to enable young people to meaningfully engage with the sector and remove the barriers that are stopping them from taking up careers in STEM and motorsport and driving lasting, transformational change.

“After some time off due to the pandemic, we are incredibly excited to relaunch ProtoEV, and can’t wait to see what our teams achieve!”

Teams can find out more and sign up here: