It has traditionally been seen as a male-dominated environment. 
But female students from one Banbury secondary school were recently shown women are just as capable of powering Formula One!

The Haas F1 Team welcomed pupils from Futures Institute, which has a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) focused curriculum, to provide a bespoke tour of its facilities. The aim of the trip was to encourage more girls to consider pursuing a career in engineering. 

The walkaround, which took place to mark World Engineering Day, saw Chief Information Officer Gary Foote guide the year 8,9 & 10 students around the impressive facilities at Haas F1’s Banbury site. This included getting up close with the intricate processes involved in pitstops, working with race engineers to decode telemetry and sitting down for a Q & A session with female staff to learn about their career paths. 

Futures works closely with a number of local businesses to provide students with an array of work experience opportunities and visibility to industries that have a STEM focus. 
As well as visiting the Haas F1 Team, the group also toured Collins Aerospace and Prodrive in order to gain a holistic view of the engineering and manufacturing industry. 

Female Futures Institute students were given a warm welcome by the Haas Formula 1 Team

Ayao Komatsu, Director of Engineering at the Haas F1 Team, said he hoped the day inspired the girls in attendance to consider going into engineering to address the gender balance in the sector which needs to be improved. 
He told the Banbury Guardian: ‘’It was great to show the students around our factory and hopefully we’ve inspired them a little when thinking about their future career paths. We all understand how vital engineering is in the world of Formula 1 and it’s crucial that we make it accessible to the next generation, especially for women where gender balance in the sector needs to be improved. I hope they had a fun day and know they can rely on Haas for any future support and development.’’

Abi Holloway, an apprentice engineer in the Advanced Technology department of Prodrive, explained her route into engineering, including persuading Prodrive to sponsor her with a degree apprenticeship. She also gave each student a 3D printed blue sheep, which were the test pieces for the 3D printing machines

The day certainly had the desired effect on students: Lizzie Tipton said: ‘’I plan to change my GCSE options to include Engineering as I was so impressed with the trip.’’
Evie Steiger added: ‘’It was very impressive to see that Prodrive make everything from scratch on site.’’
Dr Catherine Pickup, Director of Project Based Learning at Futures Institute, said: ‘’Our female students were very excited about the opportunity to spend a day focussed on engineering at Haas, Prodrive and Collins Aerospace. It’s wonderful to have such exciting companies on our doorstep in Banbury. 
‘’Our unique curriculum builds on the Aspirations Academies Trust Applied Transdisciplinary Learning (ATL) and in Years 9 & 10 we run specific employability projects in different employment areas including health and engineering. These projects develop the 21st century skills if our students like teamwork and creativity. All the projects aim to link to employers. The aim is to develop engineers with circular design skills. Most importantly the girls are keen to understand the range of opportunities that could be available to them in exciting successful companies like Collins, Haas and Prodrive.’’

Futures Institute Banbury students Evie Steiger, Shamima Mahama, Brooke Jackson and Sarah Vamanu take part in activities on a school trip involving F1 Haas and Prodrive with the aim of encouraging girls to think about careers in engineering and STEM.