STEM Crew is a free programme that provides a range of teaching resources targeted at 11-16 year olds. Established in 2014, it uses its link with the America’s Cup to inspire young people and open their eyes to their potential. Part of this is to emphasise that the success of the sailing team extends far beyond the 11-strong crew and involves over 120 people - each with unique abilities and disciplines.
“The America’s Cup is a real combination of technology and teamwork,” adds CEO Ben Cartledge. “It’s a coming together of different people from a lot of different backgrounds and skillsets, with the single aim of making the boat go as fast as possible.” STEM Crew reflects this and leaves children feeling confident and enthusiastic in their abilities, knowing that they could pursue a career as an athlete, designer, scientist or an engineer. “We want to give them opportunity and ambition. It’s all about making the experience as real as possible and relevant to their day-to-day lives.”
Currently, over a third of secondary schools in the UK have one or more teachers using the assets, he says, and more than 3,000 teachers and 200,000 young people having benefited from the resources in 2020 alone. “Teachers use our resources for two reasons: the content really delivers and it excites and inspires their students,” says Cartledge.
Each week, around eight school groups attend workshops hosted at STEM Crew’s base in Portsmouth, UK, which it shares with INEOS TEAM UK. There they learn about the science behind sailing as well as conservation and sustainability. They also have access to interactive hands-on exhibits which highlight the many innovative technologies and materials used onboard INEOS TEAM UK’s America’s Cup boat. From the techniques used in its construction to learning about hydraulics and hydrofoils, students come away with a better understanding of how science and sport are intrinsically linked.