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  1. ITV Report

Student green teams race electric kit cars around world-famous Silverstone circuit

  • Liz Summers reports

Hundreds of youngsters from around the world have come to the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire to race electric cars that they designed and built themselves.

They’ve been taking part in this year’s Greenpower Education Trust International Final. The challenge aims to give young people a head start if they choose to go into a job in science, technology, engineering or maths, otherwise known as a STEM career.

"A program like us shows what a viable and exciting career this is for young people. We have primary school children doing this and it shows that they might not be able to see it now, but in the future- yeah, I can be a civil engineer, or work in motorsport or do almost anything."

– Paul Van Veggel, CEO of Greenpower
Drivers getting ready to race at Silverstone Credit: ITV News Anglia

Teams are made up of students aged between eleven and twenty-five and include schools from all over the globe. Alongside those from the UK were groups from Poland, Spain, Singapore and China.

Schoolgirl Isobel Datson spoke ITV Anglia about how hard the teams have worked to get to this point.

“We’ve worked all year for this. It’s been over five races, with over sixty girls working two hours a week just trying to get the cars ready for today, so it’s quite an important day for us.”

– Isobel Datson
Student teams getting their cars ready for a new lap at the pit stop Credit: ITV News Anglia

This year marks twenty years since the very first Greenpower event of this kind. The first event was a one-off local race at Goodwood in 1999. Now, the challenge has evolved into an international program with several categories.

Greenpower marks 20 years since the first event of this kind Credit: ITV News Anglia

While the event itself has proven to be plenty of fun for the students, there is a more serious motivation behind the program. Greenpower say that they have a large shortage of young people going into the industry.

"We still have a massive shortage of engineers, mathematicians, coming through the school system, and something like Greenpower is a really practical, hands-on and long-term way to inspire kids to get involved."

– Olivia Whitlam, Head of Sustainability, Siemans

"We generate tens of thousands less technical students than we need, to go into the industry at all levels. We need them. The nation is really really short of them.”

– Paul Van Veggel, CEO of Greenpower

For more, check out the video below.