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Ignite Partnership Announces £500k to Three New Funded Partners

A second wave of grants from Ignite are supporting initiatives that are inspiring young people into STEM education and motorsport careers.

Ignite is supporting three new organisations, Gender Action, Bradford College and the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK), to create more opportunities for young people from underserved communities to progress into STEM careers and motorsport.

Research shows that women and ethnic minorities are significantly underrepresented in STEM across the UK:

  • Women represent only 27% of the UK STEM workforce and only 10% of engineers[1]

  • Black and mixed ethnic groups represent just 3% of UK engineers (Ibid, 1)

  • Black engineers have higher unemployment rates than other engineers, being twice as likely to be unemployed 6 months after graduation[2]

  • Only 9% of apprenticeships in engineering and manufacturing technologies are given to women and girls (Ibid,1), and 2% by Black students (Ibid 2)

[1] British Science Association, All- Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM: Inquiry into equity in the STEM workforce, 27 July 2021

[2] The Hamilton Commission, Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport, Royal Academy of Engineering, July, 2021

Ignite, launched by Sir Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, was founded to improve diversity in STEM and motorsport. To date, Ignite has committed over £1.1m to fund initiatives supporting young people from underserved communities across the United Kingdom. Moving forward, Ignite will be embedded into Mission 44, to nurture and grow its mission. It will continue to benefit from ongoing collaboration between Mission 44 and Mercedes to drive greater diversity in the sport. This second wave of grants will support:

Gender Action to grow participation in its school-charter mark scheme: a whole school approach to promoting gender equity, supporting the participation, attainment and progression of women and girls in STEM subjects.

Bradford College, alongside Bradford City Council, The Leap and other regional partners, to a) raise awareness of motorsport STEM career opportunities, b) work with employers to increase the available apprenticeships; and c) provide financial bursaries and wraparound support.

AFBE-UK to scale the organisation's work and expand its ‘Making Engineering Hot’ programme to new regions. They aim to increase the number of ethnic minority young people pursuing careers in engineering motorsport careers.

Jason Arthur, Chief Executive of Mission 44

‘We know that for young people from underserved communities to progress in STEM and motorsport, we need to provide more opportunities now. That's why I am delighted to announce a second wave of grants from Ignite that will drive impact, contribute to long-term change, and provide young people with the chance to thrive.’

Paul Mills, Chief People Officer at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

‘In 2021, the Ignite Partnership started out on a mission to create a more diverse sport. Thanks to the diligence of the Ignite team, I’m confident that this significant investment in selected partners will make a real difference for young people from underserved communities and bring sustainable improvement in the diversity of our sport. As Ignite now moves under the umbrella of Mission 44, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in establishing this important venture. We look forward to working together to continue to drive greater diversity in our sport.’

Georgina Phillips, Gender Action Steering Group Member

‘With this new funding from Ignite, Gender Action hopes to reach hundreds more schools and aspires to reach more than 60,000 students. We’ve learned from decades of research from across the organisations that founded Gender Action, that trying to challenge individual issues in individual subjects doesn’t have a sustainable effect which is why we are championing a whole of school approach’

Chris Webb, Chief Executive Officer, Bradford College

‘At Bradford College, we share a passion for transforming lives. This collaboration will help reduce barriers facing learners from our communities and display to them that there are jobs and careers in these spaces for them. We hope to increase the number of underserved young people into STEM motorsport careers and provide a springboard to support young people in taking their talents beyond what they may have ever imagined.’

Ollie Folayan, Co-founder of AFBE-UK

‘We’re delighted to be part of the Ignite partnership. We hope we can build upon the successes we’ve had, scale them up in new contexts and show the many opportunities that exist, especially in motorsports for young people. We can’t wait to get started’