Engaging educational workshops aimed at students of all ages are helping to inspire the next generation of motorsport industry specialists.
Handling prestigious parts of Formula One racing cars that have been driven by the likes of including Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, help bring to life learning for schoolchildren and students attending workshops at Silverstone Museum.
Since Silverstone Museum first launched its interactive, immersive, hands-on curriculum-focused workshops, thousands of young people throughout Northamptonshire and across the UK have discovered an array of options to forge future careers in the motorsport industry.
Steering the successful educational programme of workshops, staged in a dedicated learning studio overlooking the iconic Silverstone circuit and tailored to pupils aged from five through to university undergraduates, is former head teacher and lifelong motorsport enthusiast Rob Jaina.
Having worked within the education sector for a number of years, including as a head teacher of Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools, Rob changed career gear to take on the role of Head of Learning & Engagement at Silverstone Museum over three years ago.
Exciting and engaging workshops, curated and created by Rob, delivered by his team of specialists, help participating pupils learn and enhance their understanding of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and complement curriculum content.
At Silverstone Museum, the team deliver workshops to all key stages from Early Years Foundation Stage to Key Stage 5. The workshops explore the technology, design and science of race cars and for older pupils, including university students, explore the additional possible pathways and career options within the motor racing sector.
Rob, who has attended a huge number of races, met many of the top drivers and regularly liaises with the top performing F1 teams, explained how Silverstone Museum’s workshops are designed to deliver what ‘you cannot learn in school’.
Some of the world’s top teams competing in F1 are supporting Silverstone Museum’s mission to help inspire students to consider careers within the industry, which offers multiple opportunities. Rob has been instrumental in building relationships with key F1 teams including Mercedes, Aston Martin and Alpine.
His lifelong passion for all levels of motorsport has seen Rob involved with the sector as a volunteer and a marshal for more than two decades. Rob has also been involved with karting, driving and track days over the years having experienced his first race meeting in 1987.
His extensive experience has led to Rob being assigned as incident officer at Silverstone Circuit and for F1 Rob looks after the Hamilton Pit Straight start line for the British Grand Prix. He has also been a marshal at global race events having been involved from a grassroots level of club racing through to F1.
Rob said: “Since a young age I have always been a Ferrari fan and my biggest passion is sports car racing, whilst I love F1 I am also a fan of Le Mans.
“When it comes to creating the workshops at Silverstone Museum, my mantra has always been ‘do what you cannot do in school’. I started by collecting various parts of F1 cars including tyres and wings and then built the workshops around actually handling, looking at, feeling and touching these parts, which is so sensory.
“I wanted to ensure we catered for primary schools and I also wanted to provide workshops all the way through to Sixth Forms and that evolved into engaging with the university sector as well. With my background I also wanted to ensure we offered workshops for special schools.
“It’s not just about the driving, science and tech career opportunities within the sport, it is also about the marketing aspects, the sponsorship that the sport needs and relies on. At various levels, depending on the age of those in the workshop, we also look at design elements. We focus on careers, what is expected within the sport, what will make individuals stand out.
“We have engineered and developed the workshops, utilising the same car parts and technology, to make each session bespoke. This helps us ensure we make the workshops relevant for schoolchildren attending at a very young age, right through to the university undergraduates.”
The innovative and pioneering educational workshops have appealed to a vast range of students since its inception with the latest developments focusing on a data driven offering.
Rob said: “What has been really successful for Silverstone Museum, that’s been borne out by the numbers where we’ve been sold out for blocks of time, is the fact we are delivering something that you cannot do in the classroom.
“We are literally letting them get hands-on with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s racing car wheels and racing car parts. We also ran a hugely successful outreach programme with schools and, due to its overwhelming popularity, that is something we will revisit.”
Participating pupils enjoy unique opportunities as part of the educational workshops, which include being able to explore outside and walk along the previously raced on, now retired piece of track at the world-renowned circuit.
Rob added: “They get an up-close view to watch some on-track racing with motorsport activities taking place most days throughout the year, enabling them to see what they have learned about in the workshop actually in action on the track.
“That exclusive access makes it very real for them; it is not just a case of only focusing on the theory and learning about the car parts, the science and the design. They can see it all working in reality on the race track.“
In 2022 alone, Silverstone Museum’s education workshops were experienced by 8,500 young people and the education team engaged with approximately 15,000 students via its outreach programme.
Rob added: “I am very proud that we are getting a significant number of repeat visits from schools and universities, which is really positive. We are developing new workshops that are data focused; there will be lots of exciting developments in the near future.”
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