Kate Middleton has visited the Docklands to help inspire east London children to study engineering and technology.
Land Rover BAR is the British America’s Cup team, led by four-times Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie, which organises a series of roadshows across the country with its official charity The 1851 Trust to encourage children to get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The 1851 Trust chief executive, Ben Cartledge, said: “There’s a national shortage of young people coming out of university having studied STEM subjects. Those subjects, particularly technology, are even more important than ever for a whole range of jobs and opportunities.
“We’re trying to bring that alive, to get children out of classrooms for the day and get them interested in it, and let them see these opportunities for themselves. It’s great to be able to offer them a role model like Ben Ainsley.”
He added: “The Duchess of Cambridge has been a great supporter of the Trust. Her interest in sailing and everything connected with sailing is great.
“The young people can see that engineering isn’t just about men in boiler suits or holding grease rags, or whatever the old stereotype was. Having someone like her come and be interested in this helps them understand and helps reinforce that engineering is for girls as well.”
The Duchess was joined by 122 students from Bow School in Bromley-by-Bow, Cubitt Town Junior School in the Isle of Dogs, Canon Barnett Primary School in Aldgate and the East London Science School in Bromley-By-Bow.
The day included workshops on ocean health and the impact of plastic on marine life, a treasure hunt where students had to answer questions about renewable energy and engineering and a skype session to Bermuda to speak with Sir Ben Ainslie, as well as the opportunity for children to have a go at some watersports.
Patron of the 1851 Trust, Sir Ben Ainslie, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many young people not just getting out on the water but seeing the diverse range of opportunities there are for young people opting to take STEM subjects.
“We truly hope to inspire not just the next generation of America’s Cup sailors, but engineers and innovators alike.”
Abdul Mubeen, 11, from Canon Barnett Primary School, said: “Talking to Ben Ainslie was really interesting. We learnt a lot from him. Sadly he didn’t win the [America’s Cup] race, but I hope he wins next year.
“I’ve been sailing here before and this has made me want to do it more.”
Iqra Bintashraf, 11, also from Canon Barnett school, said: “The best part was when we did the skyping and hearing Ben Ainslie talk about the competition and how fast his boat can go.
“Meeting Kate Middleton was really exciting too. She seemed really kind.”
Together with Land Rover and supported by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the Land Rover BAR roadshow has visited five locations around the UK, and engaged with over 1,200 young people.
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