As the dust settles on Singapore’s F1 racetrack, some of the UK’s most talented and enthusiastic young engineers are now back in the classroom after competing on a world stage. The F1 in Schools World Finals, held this year in Singapore, gave teams of UK students the chance to design, test, manufacture and race a scale model Formula 1 car against teams from all over the world. It’s a fantastic competition, offering a unique insight and inspiring hands-on experiences to all young people taking part.

Everyone at EAL is incredibly proud of our new partnership with F1 in Schools. It’s a collaboration, brokered by our Head of Commercial Development Natalie Wilson, which rewards and recognises young engineers and will boost the profile of vocational qualifications and industry careers in thousands of schools across the country.

EAL’s involvement means the work of all UK pupils tackling the F1 for Schools challenge from 2015/16 onwards can be linked to the GCSE curriculum. Each young person taking part will have the chance to gain a meaningful qualification – a Level 1 Foundation certificate in Engineering Technology - which we hope will set them on the right track for a future career in industry.

Launching the qualification at the final was a great opportunity to share EAL’s innovation with international contacts. Delegates from China, Austria, Botswana and the USA all expressed interest in the qualification and how it bridges the gap between school and the workplace.

At EAL we believe in stimulating young people’s imaginations and ambitions. F1 in Schools is a fantastic route to showing young people what a career in industry can be. It’s exciting, hands-on and shows young people how their skills relate to a real-life situation, so it’s a perfect platform for us. Bringing vocational routes into industry to life, whether via an apprenticeship or a traineeship, is vital if we are to inspire young people to choose this path and a career in industry.

I’ve heard senior industrialists describe the programme as their “talent pipeline”.   Therefore, EAL is proud that F1 in School’s cream of the future generation of engineers will be joining the 1.3 million people who’ve embarked on an EAL qualification during their careers in industry over the last 10 years.

This partnership is just one of a raft of pioneering EAL initiatives working with and in schools. We’ve recently unveiled our portfolio of schools qualifications which count towards apprenticeships and traineeships. Together with our “Closer to Industry with EAL pledge” for schools I feel we’re really starting to make progress in a challenging area.

We’re determined to drive vocational qualifications into the classroom. Once they are there, we do not want them to be lagging behind, but rather where they should be in pole position alongside traditional academic routes into careers.

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