F1 in Schools™ launches in the Netherlands today with a press conference in Rotterdam. The City of Rotterdam, the Hugo de Groot School and VKV City Racing Rotterdam organizer, Robert Heilbron have joined forces for this new venture with Heilbron becoming the Netherlands licensee of F1 in Schools. Supported by the City of Rotterdam, the Hugo de Groot School is the first school in the Netherlands to offer the programme within its curriculum.
The largest global educational initiative, F1 in Schools is now in over 40 countries spanning five continents. The programme was introduced in 1999 in the UK and expanded internationally in 2002. Since this time it has continued to expand, with thousands of students from nine to 19 years old benefiting from participation in the competition. The recent announcement that leading design software company, Autodesk, has become the premier software partner and will supply $80,000 worth of software free of charge for F1 in Schools participants and schools is a major breakthrough for the programme and is expected to accelerate further international expansion.
Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman, F1 in Schools, says of the launch of F1 in Schools in the Netherlands, “As a country with a large and devoted Formula One™ fanbase, I am confident that F1 in Schools will quickly establish itself within the Netherlands as an exciting and fun initiative for students to be involved in. We wish Robert every success with its introduction into the Netherlands and will be supporting him every step of the way.
“We are very proud to have developed such a successful educational programme, “ adds Denford,”with students winning placements and full-time employment within F1,as well as securing places on apprenticeship schemes, university scholarship and industry training programmes in engineering and related subjects. Enthusing and inspiring students to enter careers in these fields is our aim and it is very rewarding to see F1 in Schools ‘alumni’ achieve their ambitions.”
Robert Heilbron, as organiser of VKV City Racing, the largest motorsports event in Holland, is familiar with the enormous appeal of Formula 1 on youth. Every year at the Formula 1 event in downtown Rotterdam hundreds of thousands of young people attend and Robert is often approached by them for openings with Formula 1 teams.
"Everyone can see that the interest among youth in technical jobs is declining, which will result in a shortage of engineers in the Netherlands now and increasingly in the future. With the Rotterdam event we have shown that Formula 1 inspires youth. F1 in Schools is the linking pin and the optimal programme to generate interest for engineering and technology amongst youngsters. I hope more cities and the Dutch government will recognise that F1 in Schools is the educational programme the Netherlands needs at this moment and will explore further widespread implementation in the Netherlands," says Dutch licensee Robert Heilbron
F1 in Schools franchisee, Robert Heilbron contacted Hugo de Groot School in Rotterdam-Charlois as a starting point for the launch into the Netherlands. Erik van't Zelfde, school director, OSC Hugo de Groot School was very excited and wanted to get involved. As an ambitious school for ambitious students the OSG Hugo de Groot is the first school in the Netherlands with the F1 in Schools programme in its curriculum.
F1 in Schools introduction into the Netherlands has also gained support from the City of Rotterdam, with the importance of promoting schooling in engineering and technology being recognized by the City of Rotterdam, leading to support for the initiative. City Councillor Korrie Louwes, says, "This is a good example of how to inspire young people by using real examples. Formula 1 is technology and high tech together and that's what the technology sector increasingly needs. The race factor makes it even more exciting”.
F1 in Schools challenges students to create their own Formula One team which is commissioned to design, construct and race the fastest miniature Formula One Car of the Future; a 21cm long scale model built from a block of balsa wood and powered by a compressed air cylinder. Each team of between three and six students creates a ‘pit’ display and showcases their work in developing their race car, with a verbal and written presentation for the judges. The teams then race their model car on a specially designed 20 metre test track, with the cars covering the distance in just over one second. The Challenge, in its thirteenth year, was introduced to the UK in 2000 and since this time has expanded to over 40 countries, reaching over 20 million students taking part around the globe.
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