Mercedes has announced an innovative new partnership with the Mulberry Schools Trust and the launch of the Mulberry STEM Academy.
A place for learning, inspiration and innovation, the new Mulberry STEM Academy in partnership with Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix will offer an extra-curricular programme in science, technology, engineering and maths education through vocational training, specialised study and masterclasses for students aged 7-18 within the Mulberry family of schools and beyond.
Launching this new provision, Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff today joined students from Mulberry Academy Shoreditch, Mulberry School for Girls and Mulberry UTC in East London through a virtual event, broadcast from the team's headquarters in Brackley. Students had the opportunity to question six-time world champion, Lewis during the session and find out more about what drives his commitment to increasing diversity and equality within motorsport.
Built on core values of high performance, team spirit and the continual desire for new challenges, the partnership between the Mulberry Schools Trust and Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix will provide the foundations on which a lasting commitment can be built. Whether it be through technical prowess on the race track or through innovative teaching and pastoral practices in the classroom, the partners are unafraid to step where the challenge is high, and will work together to change the picture, transform lives and develop a pipeline of talent from the Trust's East London catchment area.
While schools within the Mulberry Schools Trust achieve well and currently have progress well above the national average in many areas, students do not routinely enter degree courses and apprenticeships in STEM subjects. The Trust has worked hard for many years to place its students, the majority of whom are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic and disadvantaged backgrounds, at the forefront of STEM industries, but this has not moved fast enough. Representation from these groups amongst the respective workforce is low in skilled areas and it is particularly complex at the intersection of gender and ethnicity. The establishment of the Mulberry STEM Academy takes explicit, positive action to address this early on in a student's educational life.
The Mulberry STEM Academy will give students access to inspirational role models, imaginative teaching and rich extra-curricular experiences over a five-year period. Running on Saturdays during term time and school holidays for students who have talent, passion and aptitude in STEM, computing, physical science and design, the programme will offer a comprehensive and integrated curriculum, focusing on the long-term development, strength and needs of each student. Graduates will leave with a passport into engineering, design and science-based industries and be highly desirable future employees for the Mercedes team and other related sectors.
"We are very proud today to announce our new partnership with the Mulberry Schools Trust and to continue our journey towards making a positive contribution to the future engineers and scientists of the next generation," said Toto Wolff. "This is a deeply important project for us and the result of a great deal of thought into how best we might make a lasting contribution to promoting diversity and inclusion within our industry. I know myself and all our team are passionate about the success of this programme and we look forward to welcoming the first attendees of the Mulberry STEM Academy and exploring how we can best support their learning journey. Providing practical workplace experience and access to opportunities will be key to breaking down the barriers these students face when aspiring to their future careers and we are proud to be part of a project which will set them on a path to strengthening the STEM capabilities of our industry in years to come. The Mulberry Schools Trust is a hugely impressive organisation that shares our core values and we are honoured to be working with them. If the passion, enthusiasm, respect and excellence that I witnessed today during our virtual event with students from the Mulberry Schools today is anything to go by, this is going to be a very exciting, rewarding and successful venture."
"I was honoured to join the virtual event today to launch the new STEM Academy and to see the enthusiasm, intelligence and commitment of the Mulberry students for myself," added Lewis Hamilton. "It's so important that, as a sport, we do all that we can to ensure we are as inclusive as possible. Increasing young people's access to STEM and, ultimately, paving the way to careers in our industry is a brilliant way to do this. Creating a sport that is more representative of society is something very personal and important to me, and this partnership shows a real commitment from Mercedes to build a legacy that goes beyond motorsport. The STEM Academy is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference and I'm proud to work alongside my team, in partnership with the Mulberry Schools Trust, to open doors for these students which might otherwise have been closed, and to give them the opportunity to excel. Providing young people from diverse and often disadvantaged backgrounds with the confidence and resources to implement change in their own lives is one of the strongest tools that we have to build a fairer and more equal future. I'm looking forward to seeing how the students progress and, judging by the questions I received today, I have every faith we will see some of them fulfilling their dreams of working in motorsport in the future!"
"We are delighted that Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd is partnering with us on this exciting new venture," said Jane Farrell, Chair of the Mulberry Schools Trust. "This partnership will provide access to world class innovation and performance that match the ambitions of our students and the communities that they live in. It's our job to ensure that we create opportunities that encourage the development of the skills and confidence that will lead to fantastic employment opportunities in specialised industries that too often miss out on the talents of our truly diverse and brilliant students. I would like to thank Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix for seeing their potential and creating a true partnership of learning and opportunity."
"The Mulberry STEM Academy and the first-class learning experiences our students will receive through this deeply thoughtful partnership between Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd and the Trust will deliver a pipeline of talent into science and engineering industries over the next few years," added Dr Vanessa Ogden, CEO of the Mulberry Schools Trust and Headteacher of Mulberry School for Girls. "Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our work and we do all we can to provide young people in our schools with the opportunities they deserve at university and in industry. We must move the dial much quicker than we have in the UK to meet our students' aspirations and fulfil their potential. Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix recognises this and I am glad to work with such like-minded partners as Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff and all their colleagues in our efforts to really shift structural inequality for good, starting early in young people's lives through education and workplace experience."
"It has been a pleasure working closely with the leaders and teachers at the Mulberry Schools Trust over the past few months as we have established our new STEM Academy," said Paul Mills, Chief People Officer at Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd. "I would particularly like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Jane Farrell and Dr Vanessa Ogden for their vision and commitment to our joint endeavour. I have already taken learnings from them which will be of benefit to our team, and I am confident that this learning will go both ways in the future. Unfortunately, we have not been able to visit the Mulberry Schools as yet due to Covid-19 restrictions, however we very much look forward to being able to do so in the future and meeting the students in person. I am honoured and excited to be joining the steering group for our STEM Academy programme and look forward to working with the Trust and our employees at Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix to make a real difference to the Mulberry students over the course of our long-term commitment."