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Sir Lewis Hamilton and Mission 44 visit Stevenage to launch the Pioneering Young STEM Futures programme

08 Sep 23
Mission 44 logo
Stevenage Borough Council logo
North Herts College logo
Herts LEP logo
University of Hertfordshire logo

In partnership with Stevenage Borough Council, North Hertfordshire College, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Hertfordshire, the ambitious new initiative aims to give young people from underserved communities equal access to Stevenage’s STEM careers.

Stevenage has seen a huge investment in STEM industries and is home to some of the UK’s best known STEM employers, yet young people still face a number of barriers including awareness and access to STEM careers.

The Mission 44 investment includes a range of activities to tackle this, including supporting bursary programmes for young people to access support and industrial placements, virtual reality sessions to transport students from the classroom to STEM careers, and collaboration with primary schools to improve children’s experience of science lessons. Throughout the programme young people will continue to shape the development and implementation of the programme ensuring it meets their needs and future generations.

The day began with Mission 44 founder Sir Lewis Hamilton meeting students at North Hertfordshire College and taking part in a Life Science Lab experiment, where he was able to see for himself how education in his hometown is delivering the tools young people need to succeed in STEM careers. During his time at the college, the students spoke to Lewis about the challenges they felt they might face entering STEM careers, and what they believe needs to change in order to break down some of those barriers.

Mission 44's Youth Advisory Board Member, Bukunmi, said: “I’m really excited to launch these new partnerships in Stevenage. It was great to see the determination to uplift young people at the Pioneering Young STEM Futures launch summit. We hope this work will empower more young people from underserved communities in Stevenage to pursue careers in STEM and motorsport.“

In the afternoon, Stevenage Borough Council hosted a roundtable discussion as part of its Youth Skills Summit, in which Lewis and the Mission 44 team met with local employers, education leaders and young people, to discuss the most effective way of shaping the initiative to ensure long-term change.

The group discussed their own work to date, and agreed on increased communication and collaboration as a shared goal, committing to working together as a group to increase the access and opportunity for young people into STEM careers. Convening the meeting, Lewis encouraged those present to ensure the commitment was actioned through a tangible plan, and confirming his hope to return and see the progress himself.

Alex, a student at North Hertfordshire College, said: ”I really enjoy learning STEM subjects. I want to move into cell and gene therapy. I believe all the support from Lewis Hamilton and Mission 44 will make it easier to access science and STEM related subjects and careers, by showing how amazing and wonderful they can be. All this support will help new generations realise the potential they have.”

Kit Davies, Principal and Chief Executive of North Hertfordshire College, said: “The college is delighted to be working in partnership with Mission 44 on a transformational learning project that will spark curiosity for STEM careers. Bringing industry into the classroom through the use of innovative learning technology and providing opportunities for young people to experience the STEM opportunities on our doorstep.” 

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: “Stevenage has a thriving STEM industry and it’s wonderful to see so many young people are interested in it as a career path. We are proud of our growing STEM industries and we know a quarter of the satellites currently orbiting Earth were built in Stevenage. That’s why we were named the UK’s ‘Space City’ and want to improve accessibility for the next generation. Collaborating with Mission 44 will help expand STEM opportunities for young people in Stevenage, as well as highlighting the importance of this industry within our local Stevenage area.”