Children often dream about amazing careers as astronauts, inventors, or racing car drivers. By introducing them to industry professionals, we have the opportunity to bridge the gap between dreams and reality.
After more than 35 years, Gary Foote, Chief Information Officer at MoneyGram Haas F1 Team, returned to his former primary school in Cambridgeshire, UK. He brought with him not just memories, but also a box of Formula 1 car electronics, a wealth of experience, and a humble request to join their Code Club session.
We accompanied him on this journey to discover why he believes it’s crucial for children to engage with industry professionals, and to hear what he thinks of Code Club.
Someone like me
When children see professionals who they can identify with succeeding in STEM fields, it sends a powerful message and introduces a sense of possibility that they too can dream big and their dreams can become a reality.
Although few 6-year-olds (16%) worry about what job they will get in the future, by age 11, 46% are worried, and this increases to 65% by age 15. Seeing a future that they could aspire to is vital in supporting young people to understand how they can take action to make that future a reality.
“I’ve been obsessed with anything four wheels since I was a toddler, and began programming computers while still in primary school. It wasn’t until I was in my teenage years that I realised I could combine my two passions, and that combining motorsport and computing was a career possibility. I love being able to show children that there are opportunities in Formula 1 for people across all walks of life and expertise, not just driving! From STEM subjects like maths and engineering well into the arts, design, and creatives.”
Gary Foote, CIO at Haas F1
The journey from school to the workplace becomes real for young people when former students like Gary come back into schools as speakers or Code Club leaders. These experiences can help broaden students’ horizons and enable them to make more informed choices, helping them to shape their future lives.
“It’s important for children to have the opportunity to talk to industry professionals, as they are the future. They will be driving the innovation of future technology platforms — they will be solving big world problems.”
Gary Foote, CIO at Haas F1
How many sensors?
In a Formula 1 car, more than 220 sensors meticulously monitor every input and output throughout a race.
Inputs and outputs are key concepts we teach young learners at Code Club. Thanks to the knowledge gained through their Code Club sessions, the children had an insight into how sensors function within a car, learning how the information gathered by these sensors enables engineers to ensure optimal performance of the car.
“The children were brimming with curiosity and loved hearing about the world of Formula 1. It can sometimes be challenging for children to understand the real-world
application of STEM, so to hear how the concepts they are learning at Code Club can be used to solve problems in Formula 1 was enlightening for them!”
Zoe, Code Club Programme Coordinator
Don’t forget that Code Club has a ‘Code Club explains computer science’ poster series showcasing key concepts such as inputs and outputs, selection, and variables. If you run a Code Club, you can log in and download the posters from the website.
Gary sums up his Code Club experience
We regularly ask young people to summarise Code Club in just three words, and we were keen to ask Gary for the three words he would choose too!
Here are the three words Gary picked to sum up his Code Club visit:
“These kids are the future of technology; we have an obligation (and especially as a technologist) to mentor, guide, and help these children come up through these technology platforms, so technology can keep on developing. I really see this in Code Club.”
“The enthusiasm these children have is wonderful! As adults, we could take a lot from that.”
“Children (and adults) perform at their best when they do something they enjoy.”
Following Gary’s Code Club visit, who knows, maybe a Code Club graduate will join the motorsport industry in the future!
If you’re interested in inspiring the next generation, why not consider setting up a Code Club in your local school? Find out how: https://codeclub.org/en/get-involved