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Inspiring the next generation

Why we're sponsoring students as part of the Arkwright Engineering Scholarship programme

Every member of staff at McLaren began their career having been inspired, and the McLaren Racing Engage programme aims to be that source of inspiration for the next generation.

We want to unlock the creativity, dedication and motivation that comes from inspiration, and as we sponsored the second cohort of Arkwright Engineering Scholars, that was part of the message.

Following a fantastic first year and an incredible response to the McLaren Racing Engage programme, we have increased our investment and sponsored seven new students as part of The Smallpeice Trust’s Arkwright Engineering Scholarship programme.

"It has been so exciting to see the response from each of the Scholars," said Ellie Watts, Senior Specialist, Early Careers & Diversity. "We first met them along with their parents at the Award Ceremony in London, and during the ceremony, a short biography on each of the scholars was shared with the audience.

We have sponsored seven new students as part of The Smallpeice Trust’s Arkwright Engineering Scholarship programme

"It was brilliant to hear about all their achievements and ambitions for the future. We were delighted to have spent the afternoon with them, they each told us about the phone call they received to announce McLaren was their sponsor, and they were super enthusiastic when we told them they’d be invited to the MTC for a tour.

"When we did the tour, we invited one of last year's scholars back to the MTC to meet the second cohort and share his own experiences. It was great to see how he has grown in confidence over the last year and is beginning his journey to his dream career."

The Arkwright Engineering Scholarship is designed to encourage and provide support to 16-year-olds who aspire to become future leaders in engineering. Each candidate is carefully chosen through a rigorous selection process and is then backed through A Levels, Scottish Highers or equivalent qualifications.

Throughout the two-year scholarship, we provide funding to the students and their schools to enable the purchase of study resources and equipment. Each student is supported by a mentor from our engineering team, who offers advice and provides insight into their working lives and what it takes to be an engineer.

"The mentors have also supported the creation of opportunities such as work experience and internships whilst providing inspiring experiences that enable individuals to pursue their dream to work in motorsport," said Kate Hatchley-O'Hara, Head of, Diversity, Early Careers & Development.

"The energy, engagement and inquisitiveness of our scholars has been recognised by the wider team, and we have often been over-subscribed with mentors for the programme because of this.

"Perhaps what gives us the greatest hope for the future is seeing how many Arkwright applicants wish to work in motorsport. This illustrates that our continued efforts to open doors into motorsport will result in fantastic, diverse talent in the future via this programme."

The scholarship is designed to encourage and provide support to 16-year-olds who aspire to become future leaders in engineering

Over the last 18 months, the programme has delivered 15 STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) days to more than 1,000 students, matched 32 employees as mentors, and funded 25 individuals through the Creative Access career development bursary.

The programme also sponsored the Women’s Engineering Society’s Annual Student Conferences, alongside supporting their International Women in Engineering Day campaign in June, and the ‘Lottie Tour’ as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week in November.

"We will be inviting the scholars back to the MTC in the summer for a week’s work experience," Ellie continued. "This will give them an insight into some of the key areas of the business and allow them to network with the wider McLaren team."

Kate added: "That week last year was one of the best elements of the programme to date. They rotated across our technical and racing teams and were shown all of the available career routes. The feedback from the scholars was fantastic, and the week ended with a day in Mission Control with our engineers during FP1 and FP2 for that week's grand prix.

"It inspired a number of our scholars to pursue further studies aligned to a career within motorsport, and they voiced their aspiration to return to us in the future. This is ultimately what we are trying to achieve with our Engage programme, and with the fantastic support of The Smallpeice Trust, this programme is moving us towards meeting that objective."

Internally, we have enhanced our current trainee, apprenticeship and graduate schemes to attract early career talent from a more diverse range of universities and colleges.

We will also expand the Engage programme internationally into every racing series we enter, affirming our commitment to investing in grassroots talent across the wider motorsport and engineering industries.

The first cohort of Arkwright Engineering Scholars with their mentors

"Our overall aim for the Arkwright Scholar Programme is to enrich their goals and career aspirations and maintain our relationship so that we hopefully see them return within our Early Careers population," Ellie continued.

"We are committed to supporting their journey into the Engineering industry and have some brilliant mentors who can share their challenges, motivations and successes. These relationships are paramount to the scholars' success and for creating networks and links to team members within McLaren.

"As the sponsor, we have direct links with each of the scholars to continue our support once they leave school and begin looking for industry opportunities."

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