Universities can do more to help increase the number of Black students in STEM careers and UK motorsport, according to a new report from Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton’s Hamilton Commission.
Training more Black teachers in STEM subjects and creating specialist scholarship programmes for Black engineering graduates are among the recommendations made in ‘Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport’, a new report launched today from the The Hamilton Commission in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The research report identifies the key barriers to the recruitment and progression of Black people in UK motorsport – only 1% of Formula One employees are from Black backgrounds. It makes 10 recommendations. Those relevant to higher education include:
- New approaches to increase the number of Black teachers in STEM subjects that lead to careers in engineering
- The creation of scholarship programmes to enable Black graduates from degrees in engineering and allied subjects to progress into specialist motorsport roles
The Hamilton Commission report also has suggestions for schools, calling for a new exclusions innovation fund, to address the factors that contribute to the high proportion of students from Black backgrounds being excluded from schools, and for Black community groups to provide additional STEM activity support to supplementary schools.
We must tackle the barriers facing Black students that exist throughout their educational journey – Lewis Hamilton
The report research, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, covered initial data analysis, stakeholder mapping, a literature review in sport, education and employment, as well as in-depth surveying and analysis with youth focus groups and key stakeholders.
The report also found that existing engineers and recruiting managers within motorsport teams tended to recruit students from the same select group of high-ranking universities they graduated from themselves.
“Given the right opportunities and support, young people can excel at whatever they put their minds to, but our research shows that many young Black people are being closed out of opportunities within STEM, and having their full potential limited,” said Lewis Hamilton.
“While I have enjoyed a successful career in motorsport, it’s been a lonely path as one of the few Black individuals within Formula 1 and, after fifteen years of waiting for the industry to catch up, I realised I had to take action myself. In order to do that, I needed to understand what was preventing the industry from being as diverse as the world around it.
“Through the Commission’s research, we can see there are clear meaningful steps the motorsport industry needs to take towards creating a more inclusive environment where diversity can thrive but also that we must tackle the barriers facing Black students that exist throughout their educational journey. Some of these barriers I recognise from my own experiences, but our findings have opened my eyes to just how far reaching these problems are.
“Now that I’m armed with the Commission’s recommendations, I am personally committed to ensuring they are put into action. I’m so proud of our work to date, but this is really just the beginning.”
Photo: Lewis Hamilton by Finn Pomeroy for Mercedes F1
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