The KCOM Stadium to host 60+ electric kit cars for Project Blyth

Published: Wednesday 5th April 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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Recent years have seen a huge focus on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) in the education sector.

There are multiple reasons for this, from a UK skills gap requiring an additional 1.8 million engineers by 2025, to the promotion of gender equality due to only 8% of engineers being female.

Hull is no exception to the flurry of activity taking place to encourage young people to pursue a career in STEM.

Recent examples include last week’s Hull Science Festival at the University of Hull, and 2016’s Amy Johnson Festival, which beautifully combined arts and sciences.

For our time as the UK City of Culture, a particularly impressive event over a year in the making will take place in Hull: Project Blyth.

Run by Greenpower Education Trust, supported by Siemens and funded by Green Port Hull and the Careers and Enterprise Company, Project Blyth is currently based in many of the city’s schools.

The project consists of 33 teams created in the Humber region. Each one has to design and build its own Formula 24 car, a category for young people aged 11-16.

The cars driven by primary school children reach 15mph, while those for 11 years or older reach 25-30mph.

To take part, the teams must meet ten requirements, including raising 50% of the cost of the kit car themselves, 50% female participation, and research surveys completed by students, teachers and parents.

Each team is given financial backing, free training in Solid Edge CAD software from Siemens, and a strong link to a local employer who will offer various workplace inspirations.

One of these local companies is OSL Consulting, who are matched with Sirius Academy. Below is Daniela De Sousa Parisi, a Process Engineer, helping to construct the car.


“Being linked with Sirius is mutually beneficial,” says Alastair Robertson, Principal Director at OSL.

“It forms a valuable conduit between our specialists and the school’s budding engineers. We anticipate a multitude of conversations will open up as a result.”

The industry experts from OSL and many other businesses visit the schools regularly, working alongside students and teachers in their natural environment.

The idea is that these professionals bring vocational inspiration, a wide skill set, and the engineering know-how required to design, build, maintain and ultimately race a fully functional Formula 24 car.

“We have a long history of working closely with schools and students,” added Alastair. “Project Blyth is the perfect addition to our commitment to shaping the next generation of engineers.”

According to the Project Blyth website, pupils with four or more contacts with employers are significantly less likely to become NEET (not in education, employment or training). Meanwhile, they can expect to earn up to 18% more than those without these links.

We also spoke to Vaughan Curnow, Project Blyth Coordinator (pictured below, on the right):

“This project engages with all abilities and gets young people enthused, engaged and thinking about what to do with their lives.”

“We use our Greenpower kit cars literally as vehicles for social change.”

Project Blyth 2

Over the next few months, schools will continue to be involved in build days, competitions and a careers fair. Then of course there’s the race itself, which will take place at the KCOM Stadium.

Originally the event was going to take over some city centre streets, but due to huge interest from the public it has been moved to surroundings that can accommodate thousands of spectators.

This will take place on Sunday 16 July. To find out more, please visit the Project Blyth website.

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Published: Wednesday 5th April 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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