Schools and associations

Why students still too often ignore STEM

Compared to other European countries, Belgium scores poorly in terms of the number of graduates in STEM fields.

The reasons? First of all: study choice is mainly determined by the parents' profession and the school's offer.

In addition, young people say they know too little about what STEM studies entail and what the opportunities are. And they generally feel inadequately prepared for their professional future.

Moreover, education in Belgium is still strongly divided into general, technical and vocational education. Students from one branch have little contact with the other. And in a number of fields of study, technical or theoretical subjects are given less prominence, which again acts as a brake.

But... more and more teachers are convinced that young people need to get a better idea of STEM study options and what exactly those studies entail. Only then can they make a good choice - including for their future careers.

Our answer: the Greenpower Challenge

The aim of the Greenpower organisation is to inspire young people for studies as well as a career in a STEM field. We do this through the appeal of motorsport.

Under the slogan Design - Build - Race pupils and students take part in the Greenpower Challenge: "endurance racing" with single-seater electric cars they have designed and built themselves.

The Greenpower Education Trust started 22 years ago in the UK. Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 participating teams are active in 10 countries. Belgium is the weakest European player in the number of STEM graduates in higher education. That is why we launched the Greenpower Benelux Challenge in 2021. Because we need to make STEM more visible, more tangible - and more attractive.

And so we give teachers the tools for a hands-on curriculum.

In a serious project, but with a playful angle. Connected to different aspects of the curriculum. Competitive, but in complete safety. And with a concrete and exciting final goal for the youngsters: to race their self-designed and self-built car!

We enjoyed building the car and it was great to compete against cars from other schools. Through the project, we now know more about engineering, working together as a team, listening to others and sharing ideas.

Members of the Goblin team, Cleadon Academy, Sunderland

Support for teachers

Car kit

We provide car kits suitable for different age groups. They can be assembled in the (high) school itself or elsewhere.

Assembly guide

Thanks to the very complete assembly instructions, teachers can easily take control of this project and carry it out with their group.

CAD software

For the design and construction of the bodywork, we provide CAD software and initiation. We also show concrete examples of existing cars.

Technical support

We provide technical guidance for the teacher and students, advice in coming up with the design and body concept and in building the car, and support before and during the competitions.

Races

We organise races and practice rounds on race tracks or at suitable airfields and military bases, across the country.

Sponsorship

Greenpower Benelux provides structural sponsors, and helps schools find team sponsors.

Greenpower is unique in offering this STEM experience: we apply the same basic concept across a wide age range, and this allows for excellent flow.

My involvement with Greenpower on my CV when applying for universities and internships really helped me stand out. The contacts I gained at Greenpower also helped me arrange my internship during my studies.

Nikki Jones, participant in IET Formula 24+

A rich and engaging experience

Teams from general secondary, technical secondary (or "finality throughput" and "double finality throughput and labour market") and higher education will have a unique and varied challenge. Because to race their car, they must first design and build it.

And all this in turn requires cooperation around the technical aspects, team planning for the games, and fundraising to run the team.

Participating in The Greenpower Challenge:

  • increases young people's engineering skills,
  • improves their professional prospects,
  • develops competences that will be useful in their professional life, even if they choose a career outside the STEM sector.

Age categories

Greenpower Formula 24 (11 - 16 years)

The GP Formula 24 Challenge gives students the chance to build and race a Greenpower Kit Car. Intended to get pupils excited about further studies in a STEM field. Aimed at schools, but private initiatives, youth groups and club teams are also welcome.

Greenpower Formula 24+ (16 - 25 years)

Aimed at fifth, sixth and seventh year secondary schools, colleges and universities. Intended to enhance career and training opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

We envisage an offer for 9- to 11-year-olds at a later stage.

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It was a fantastic event for the students to participate in and something I was immensely proud of as a teacher.

Alan Tilley, Southbrook Special School, Devon

Programmes

Want to know more about the programmes and their integration into the curriculum?

Let us know soon! We will be happy to send you additional information.

Discover the Greenpower community

Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, to see the evolution of the teams, discover the atmosphere of the matches and follow the championship results.