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One Year On: Mercedes-AMG F1 Announces Positive Progress with Accelerate 25 Programme

In December 2020, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team announced Accelerate 25: a five-year programme to mark the formalisation of our vision to become a more diverse team.

Through the Accelerate 25 programme, we are working to become more inclusive and continuously raise our standards of entry with an ambition to exceed 25% of all new starters coming from under-represented groups until the end of 2025.

After the first year of Accelerate 25, a review of permanent and fixed-term new starters in 2021 shows that 38% of our new team members joined the team from under-represented groups. During 2021, female employees have risen from 12% to 14% of our workforce and employees from minority ethnic groups have risen from 3% to 6%.

While we are pleased with the progress made in this first year, we also recognise that we have a long way to go and many of our initiatives are designed for long-term impact. In 2021, as part of our team’s adjustment to the new Formula One regulations and budget restrictions, many of our new starters have joined the team through growth in our Business Support functions, rather than directly into Engineering or STEM-related fields.

At the start of Accelerate 25, we pledged to improve our awareness through internal education opportunities so that all employees had the opportunity to enhance their understanding and provide their input. A bespoke Accelerate Inclusion workshop, facilitated by the EW Group, has been rolled out across the team, including senior leadership, along with 320 recruiters taking part in Unconscious Bias training.

To further enable employee engagement, our Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Forum, consisting of 25 team member volunteers from under-represented groups, meets regularly to provide their input and suggestions for future focus.

Over the past year, we have hosted a number of internal networking events, we celebrated Pride Month and Black History Month for the first time, held workshops on Menopause Awareness, British Sign Language and the Ethics of Ethnic Diversity, and joined the Safe Space Alliance.

On International Women in Engineering Day, team members were invited to a live Q&A with panellists Susie Wolff (Team Principal, Venturi Formula E Team), Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon (Co-founder and CEO, Stemettes), Dr Vanessa Ogden (CEO, Mulberry Schools Trust) and Miss Catherine Rennie (Consultant Surgeon, Imperial College NHS Trust). Hosted by Jane Farrell of the EW Group, the event provided a fascinating and thought-provoking discussion about overcoming barriers and building careers in engineering and STEM.

The team have also enhanced employee benefits including significantly improving our Maternity Leave policy and introducing a Pregnancy Loss Support and Leave policy.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team:

“In the first year of our Accelerate 25 programme, we have made promising progress to develop a more diverse and inclusive team. Through detailed internal scrutiny and with the guidance of our excellent partners, we have been able to take the first steps on our journey in enabling access to STEM education and careers and building a pipeline of talent who we hope may consider joining us in the future. To see a small but significant increase in our numbers of team members from under-represented groups is a sign that we are making progress, however we remain acutely conscious that this is a long-term commitment and look forward to building on those initial steps.”

Accelerate 25 Partnerships

A key focus for Accelerate 25 is inspiring and motivating talented young people from under-represented groups towards technical careers through STEM education, with the hope they aspire to join our team in the future.

The Mulberry STEM Academy is a partnership between the team and the Mulberry Schools Trust; encouraging young people at the Trust to develop their passion for STEM subjects. In 2021, 24 Year 10 students and 24 Year 12 students followed a carefully designed programme with the team including imaginative teaching, career coaching, mentorship and extra-curricular experiences.

The team also was delighted to welcome a cohort of students to Brackley for a week’s work experience placement. The second cohort of students began their year-long programme with the Mulberry STEM Academy in January this year with entry numbers increased to include 50 Year 10 and 50 Year 12 students. They will be working with the team over the year through engineering workshops, mentoring, curriculum support, along with visits to our factory and work experience placements.

Dr Vanessa Ogden, CEO of the Mulberry Schools Trust:

“I am so proud of what the Mulberry Schools Trust and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team have been able to achieve together. Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our work, and we have a bold vision that our students will access a more diverse and equitable STEM sector as a result of our partnership. Hundreds of disadvantaged students across our Trust and local primary schools have participated in our world-class Mulberry STEM Academy and developed crucial skills, confidence and an increased knowledge across the STEM subjects. This has led to fantastic opportunities such as access to a high-quality work experience programme, outstanding careers conferences with senior Mercedes-AMG F1 representatives and graduate employees, as well as outreach work delivering our STEM roadshows. These encounters will enhance the excellent academic choices available to young people as they journey into further education, top universities and hopefully into specialised industries in the future. Our 2022 cohort can look forward to more transformative STEM education with the team as we roll out our extensive programme this year.”

The Stemettes are an award-winning UK social enterprise who work to inspire the next generation of girls, young women and non-binary young people into STEM fields. The first year of our partnership has seen 34 young Stemettes engage in individual four-month mentoring programmes with 34 of our team members to support and guide their STEM journeys.

In July 2021,10 young women took part in the Stemettes Certification Academy, completing an online STEM programme with sessions provided with our employees, culminating in an industry recognised ICAgile Fundamentals qualification. Four of the team’s young female engineers took part in Instagram Live sessions, with 50 of our team members facilitating interview workshops and CV review sessions.

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, Co-founder and CEO of Stemettes:

“Through our partnership with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team we have been able to provide mentoring and guidance to many Stemettes who, without exposure and support, would not have had the opportunity to find out more about possible STEM careers. We were inundated with applications for our one-week online STEM programme, the Stemettes Certification Academy, with the team in July. One of the highlights of the summer was seeing our Stemettes enjoy the Instagram Lives with Mercedes-AMG F1 female engineers. We look forward to continuing our work together to help young people to choose STEM subjects and enter STEM industries in the future.”

The Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK works to inspire people of Black and minority ethnic origin to study engineering, supporting those who aspire to be engineers, promoting engineering in schools and aiming to increase diversity within the UK’s engineering workforce.

AFBE-UK have supported our team as we reviewed our recruitment processes, providing valuable input and knowledge to facilitate the widening of our talent pool. Engineering students from AFBE-UK have had the opportunity to visit our Brackley headquarters and speak with our management team through a networking event designed to advise the team on how to improve our reach to under-represented groups. We have also participated in the AFBE’s Virtual Careers Fair for young students aged 12-18 to provide guidance and mentoring to students looking to pursue STEM education.

Dr Nike Folayan MBE, Co-founder and Chair of AFBE-UK:

“Working with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team on the Accelerate 25 programme has beenan excellent opportunity to explore and address the unique challenges around inclusion within motorsport. Our visit to Brackleyreally demonstratedthe team’s commitment and allowed our student members in attendance to be truly inspired. We intend to roll out somekey initiativestogether that have the potential to really shiftthe dial in providing better access and opportunitiesfor young people, regardless of their background, in motorsport. We are very excited about this and look forward to continuing our collaboration.”

We are pleased to confirm that the team have become a Member of Business Disability Forum who work to create a disability-smart world, removing barriers that prevent disabled people from thriving and contributing in business structures. Working in partnership with Business Disability Forum, the team will undertake the Disability Smart Audit in the first quarter of 2022 to identify and resolve our current gaps and ensure we have accessibility throughout our processes, procedures, platforms and communications. We will also begin work on becoming a Disability Confident employer with their support.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO of the Business Disability Forum commented:

“I am delighted that the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team have joined us as a Member of Business Disability Forum. It’s great that the team has recognised that being an employer of choice includes attracting, recruiting and retaining disabled talent as part of your workforce. Through our membership, the team will be able to enjoy access to our Advice Service and a wealth of practical support, plus the opportunity to connect with over 400 like-minded peers across business. I look forward to working with the team over the coming months and years to support their Disability Smart journey.”

Paul Mills, Chief People Officer at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team concluded:

“As we look back on our first full year of Accelerate 25, I feel very proud of the enthusiastic engagement of so many of our team-mates who have volunteered their time to support training, workshops, networking, mentoring and various other events. The team have enthusiastically grasped the opportunity to learn and reach out to engage with under-represented groups helping to inspire and encourage them to consider STEM careers. We all continue to benefit from working alongside our fantastic partners at the Mulberry Schools Trust, the Stemettes, AFBE-UK and EW Group. It is so rewarding to hear the feedback from the students and young people that we have worked alongside this year and to witness their passion for learning. Whilst we have made a good start, there is still much to do, and this is only the beginning of our journey to make our team and our sport more inclusive and diverse.”