Lewis Hamilton: Briton wants to ‘improve pipeline’ in STEM fields for those from diverse backgrounds

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Lewis Hamilton says he wants to “improve the pipeline” for children from diverse backgrounds to work in industries around science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The project builds upon his efforts to boost the number of black teachers in STEM subjects.

“We want these kids to know they are the future,” said Hamilton.

The Hamilton Commissionexternal-link report also previously addressed the lack of diversity in UK motorsport.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Hamilton added: “I want to be part of changing the world and it starts with the kids. We’ve got to improve the pipeline, and it starts with right down at primary school giving these kids access.”

Via his Mission 44 charity, the British seven-time world champion’s latest initiative is supporting the Young STEM Futures Programme in his hometown of Stevenage, while drawing on his own experiences as a child and in motorsport.

Hamilton, 38, will take part in a number of related activities across the programme, with his charity working with the local council and colleges to mentor 50 year nine students and help primary schools improve children’s experience of science lessons.

“I found it really difficult at school,” he said. “I found it was not a happy experience for me.

“I remember vividly just how difficult it was and I have this amazing platform – and it would be a real waste not to utilise it.

“We need equal opportunity for these kids to come through and feel like there’s a home for them – or the career for them – within these industries.

“There are thousands and thousands of jobs, over 40,000 jobs within the industry [motorsport], and only 1% for example, come from black backgrounds and there are very few women in the industry, which is also not enough.

“So there’s a huge amount of work to increase diversity and gender equality and these are the things that I hope to achieve with my charity.”

Hamilton also responded to claims by three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart that he “no longer has that hunger” by suggesting his critics are “short-minded people” who “do not know the work done in the background”.

Hamilton said he would instead aim to be “encouraging” for the next generation of drivers when he does retire, adding: “They’re going to make lots of mistakes. I still am going to be making mistakes for many years. But encouraging people and letting them know it’s OK to make mistakes and inspiring them, rather than shutting them down, that’s the kind of figure that I want to be.”