Greenpower boosts F1 dream for UAE students

10 October 2023
Pole Position, GEMS Education challenge pupils to design, build, race electric cars, and open up new motorsport career route

UAE school students with dreams of becoming a future Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton, or a Formula One car designer or mechanic, can boost their chances through a new initiative offering a path into motorsport and electric vehicle engineering.

The Greenpower programme is being introduced by Pole Position, the Dubai-based automotive events and motorsports consultancy, in connection with Greenpower Education Trust, and GEMS Education, the UAE’s largest school group.

Starting with 11 GEMS Education schools, it challenges students to engage in the design, construction, and racing of electric cars as part of their educational journey.

Pole Position is a partner of GEMS’ unique GEMS For Life programme. This combines employment experience including virtual and external internships, next step support for higher education including access to scholarships, and its alumni programme, which boasts a data base of some 125,000.

Participating schools have formed teams of 12 to design and build electric kit cars supplied by the Trust, a UK-based charity, which has been running the programme for over 20 years.

One of these, GEMS Winchester School – Dubai (WSD), carried out a pilot build of the car over the summer, and its team is now working on the bodywork to complete the project.

Ten other GEMS schools across the UAE will receive their kits later this month. Teams will assemble cars to compete in the Formula 24 category race final for 11 to 16-year-olds at Dubai Autodrome next March.

"We're very happy to be collaborating with GEMS Education in introducing the Greenpower programme to the UAE," said Ryan Trutch, Founder and CEO of Pole Position. We share the belief that this initiative will ignite a strong interest in future motorsports activities among students, and also garner support from teachers to sustain motorsport-related activities. Our aim is to create additional pathways for young people to pursue careers in engineering and various scientific fields, enabling them to have a more significant impact on society.”

More than 2,500 teams have participated in the Greenpower programme, which was highlighted in a report from the Hamilton Commission, set up by seven-time F1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton. The commission says the project contributes to enhancing diversity in motorsport.

Annually, over 10,000 students worldwide take part in the programme, which uses the excitement of motorsport to inspire excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It helps students from primary school to college develop the skills needed for careers in motorsport, engineering, team management, and other important roles.

Matthew Tompkins, Vice President, GEMS For Life, said: “We are thrilled to be involved in the Greenpower programme. The project will inspire students in our schools to reflect upon the importance of sustainability and consider the wide variety of careers that exist in motorsport. We are looking forward to tracking the progress of our school teams.”

GEMS Winchester School Principal and CEO, Matthew Lecuyer, said: “At GEMS Winchester School – Dubai, Greenpower has had a transformative impact on our students’ education by merging STEM learning with practical, real-world application. These electric race cars provide our students with hands-on experiences in designing, building, and racing their own eco-friendly vehicles. In the process, young learners develop critical skills like problem-solving, teamwork, and innovation, essential for their future careers.”

The other 10 GEMS schools involved are GEMS Winchester School – Fujairah, GEMS Dubai American Academy, GEMS Wesgreen International School – Sharjah, GEMS Westminster School – Ras Al Khaimah, The Millennium School, GEMS Legacy School, GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail, GEMS Our Own English High School – Al Ain, GEMS World Academy – Abu Dhabi, and GEMS American Academy – Abu Dhabi.

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