Go-karting's schooling scheme

Lucky Leigh pupils will be on the right track for science and engineering success when they pioneer an exciting project using cutting-edge technology.

Friday, 26th February 2016, 12:05 pm
Updated Friday, 26th February 2016, 1:10 pm
Racing drivers supported by The Blair Project launching the ProtoGP challenge to design and build a kart using 3D printing

A dozen young people from the borough will get the chance to design and build their own racing kart using 3D printing thanks to a grant from the National Lottery.

Two schools in the borough will be chosen for the high-octane ProtoGP project, which is being overseen by Atherton-based motorsport social enterprise The Blair Project.

The quest to design a fully-fledged racing car will be the first of its kind in the country, with the youngsters not only building the machine from scratch but getting to test it out on track at the Three Sisters Racing Circuit in Ashton.

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The Blair Project will select 12 young people from across the borough who have special educational needs or learning disabilities, or who are at risk of not achieving in the classroom, for the ProtoGP challenge.

The ambitious project has drawn together several organisations from across the borough, with the expert know-how in 3D printing being provided by Ultimaker, and organisers hope it will fire young students’ imagination and put them on course for careers in the so-called Stem subjects of science, engineering, technology and maths.

Nile Henry, founder and CEO of The Blair Project, said: “We specialise in making learning fun and uplifting. We want every child to discover what they are good at, and then provide the right nurturing environment for the seeds of their talents to grow.

“Some will discover they’re good at coding and programming, others may be good at designing, technical problem solving or they’re natural-born leaders and managers.

“Digital manufacturing and design skills are going to be essential for the workforce of tomorrow. ProtoGP will develop the skills and confidence of these young people to help them transition into further education apprenticeships or jobs, and build brighter futures.

“We are also excited by this collaboration with a forward thinking company like Ultimaker, which will allow us to tap into the reservoir of knowledge within its open source community to make this happen.

“There is a real buzz and excitement from everyone involved and we can’t wait to get started.”

The challenge has now been given the green light thanks to a grant of £9,500 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards For All scheme, which will make the pilot construction a reality.

The project to build the UK’s first 3D printed karts has captured the borough’s imagination, with several leading organisations and community groups putting themselves on the grid to be involved. Students from Wigan and Leigh College will support The Blair Project’s budding racers and Spring View based organisation Fix It UK, which provides motor engineering qualifications for those struggling in mainstream schooling.