Land Rover tech challenge for schools addresses STEM skills shortage
Land Rover 4×4 ‘In Schools Technology Challenge’ aims find the digital skill set needed in future talent to offset global STEM skills shortage by 2023.
Self-driving cars will require an estimated one billion lines of computer code – almost 1,000 times more than the 145,000 lines required by NASA to land Apollo 11 on the moon. To meet the growing need for more coders to deliver these future autonomous and connected vehicles, Jaguar Land Rover has again launched its technology challenge in schools, looking to inspire the next generation of software engineers.
The talented teenagers competing in 2019’s Land Rover 4×4 In Schools Technology Challenge world finals – a global education initiative aimed at encouraging young people to take up STEM careers – were able to write 200 lines of code in just 30 minutes to successfully navigate a scale model Range Rover Evoque around a 5.7-metre circuit.
David Lakin, Head of Education from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), said: “We’re in the midst of a digital skills shortage – the UK alone requires more than one million software engineers to fill the growing demand for roles requiring a knowledge of coding, software engineering or electronics. Digital skills are vital to the economy, which is why the IET is proud to support initiatives like the Land Rover 4×4 In Schools Technology Challenge to ensure we inspire, inform and develop future engineers and encourage diversity across STEM subjects from a young age. If we are to safeguard jobs for the next generation, we must equip the workforce of the future with the skills they will need to engineer a better world.”
As of 2018, there were 23-million software developers worldwide but this population is expected to grow to 27.7 million by 2023, with World Economic Forum research suggesting 65 per cent of students will end up working in jobs that don’t currently exist.
In 2019, Jaguar Land Rover will launch a new Digital Skills Apprenticeship programme to attract the brightest computer engineers to help code its next-generation electric, connected and autonomous vehicles and support the factories of the future.
Nick Rogers, Executive Director of Product Engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Computer engineering and software skills are more important than ever in the rapidly changing automotive industry, and that will only increase as we see more autonomous, connected and electric vehicles on the roads. The UK will need 1.2 million more people with specialist digital skills by 2022, and as a technology company, it’s our job to help inspire and develop the next generation of technically curious and pioneering digital engineers. The Land Rover 4×4 In Schools Technology Challenge is just one of the ways we are doing this, as well as our new Digital Skills Apprenticeship programme we are launching this year.”
The Land Rover 4×4 in Schools programme has helped the company reach more than four million young people since 2000. This year 110 students from 14 countries qualified for the world finals held at the University of Warwick, with NewGen Motors team from Greece lifting the trophy following two intensive days of competition.
Mark Wemyss-Holden, former teacher and Curriculum Content Developer, said: “Coding is high on the agenda across industry and teachers do a fantastic job delivering the curriculum, but schools have competing priorities and are hamstrung by limited budgets and time. The private sector, and programmes like Land Rover 4×4 In Schools, have a real opportunity to bridge the gap between what learners enjoy studying and how that translates into a future career.”
John Cormican, General Manager for Vehicle Engineering, Shannon, said: “Shannon has an important role to play in realising the company’s vision for autonomous and connected vehicles, but we can not deliver this future without the very best minds – individuals who could write the next chapter for Jaguar Land Rover. It’s fantastic to see the company taking such an innovative approach towards investing in the next generation.”