School children in Wigan will be the first in the country to computer design and build their own race karts using new 3D printing and digital manufacturing technologies thanks to a grant award from the Big Lottery’s Awards For All Fund.
The Blair Project has been given a cash boost of £9,500 to pilot its ProtoGP Schools Kart Challenge with 2 x schools in Wigan. The game-changing social enterprise uses the power and exhilaration of motorsport to enthuse young people to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering. The cash injection will be used to purchase 2 x new 3D printers and fund the development of a special curriculum for schools.
The pilot will give 12 young people who have special educational needs or learning disabilities and/or are at risk of not achieving, the opportunity to discover and unleash their hidden talents. In addition to learning digital manufacture and design skills, the teams will also get to test and race their karts at Three Sisters Racing Circuit in Ashton-in-Makerfield, supported by student mechanics and engineers from Wigan & Leigh College.
This pioneering project is a collaboration between The Blair Project, Wigan & Leigh College, Fix It UK and 3D printing technologists Ultimaker, who have brought together an Open Source community of innovators and enthusiasts for the rapid prototyping of the UK’s first ever 3D printed karts.
Nile Henry, founder and CEO of The Blair Project said “ We specialise in making learning fun and uplifting. We want every child to discover what they are good at, and then provide the right nurturing environment for the seeds of their talents to grow. Some will discover they’re good at coding and programming, others may be good at designing, technical problem solving or they’re natural born leaders and managers.
Digital manufacturing and design skills are going to be essential for the workforce of tomorrow. ProtoGP will develop the skills and confidence of these young people to help them transition into further education apprenticeships or jobs, and build brighter futures.
We are also excited by this collaboration with a forward thinking company like Ultimaker, which will allow us to tap into the reservoir of knowledge within their Open Source community to make this happen. There is a real buzz and excitement from everyone involved and we can’t wait to get started.”
Paul Croft , Director of Ultimaker GB said: ‘This is an exciting collaboration that fits perfectly with the values of our CREATE Education Project. What better way to develop STEM skills than to build something as exhilarating as a race kart? We can’t wait to see what innovative ideas come to fruition.’’
The 3D printed race karts will go on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester in July as part of a special schools event for European City of Science. The Blair Project plans to roll out ProtoGP into other schools in Wigan, and the North West region in the autumn.