Celebrated race driver and iron man Mark Webber inspires young people

  |  Published: May 11th 2015
Participants in the Mark Webber Inspire Youth Challenge 2015

The Mark Webber Youth Challenge is a competitive event for students organised by Inspire Young People, the charity which helps young people get into work. This year, 8 student teams from Amersham and Wycombe College, Aylesbury College, East Berkshire College (Slough/Langley), Milton Keynes College, The Henley College and West Herts College (Watford) participated.

Inspire’s patron Mark Webber got stuck in at the annual Mark Webber Youth Challenge. Eight student teams from 6 colleges, handling orienteering, team-building events and iron man contests proved too tempting for Mark. Rather than merely hob-nob with the VIPs and sponsors, Mark got involved with the teams in canoe paddling machine race against the clock, crossing a stretch of lawn without touching the ground using wooden platters, teams of four walking in union on giant planks, overseeing teams planning their orienteering and all manner of contests.

Inspire Young People, the Bucks/Oxon/Thames Valley charity which helps young people get into work on leaving college, organizes this event annually as part of a programme of events to inspire students to fulfil their own potential and raise funds to further their work experience and training. Mark Webber, who lives in Buckinghamshire, is the patron of Inspire and can’t resist getting actively involved in the sporting contests and in the job of inspiring students. On the day he was seen in earnest conversations with students, one-on-one or in a group, talking about prospects and what else can be done to improve them.

Among the sponsors of the Mark Webber Youth Challenge is SEMTA, a government initiative which, through the STEM Alliance, is working to encourage diversity and numbers in careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) organisations (www.semta.org.uk). Key people from SEMTA joined Inspire and Mark Webber at Green Park to understand the further opportunities that Inspire offers to companies, colleges and students. Pro-Link, Performance Solutions and Parton Road Properties continue their sponsorship of Inspire which they started in 2014. Other companies attended the event to meet Mark and the Inspire team to see how they can get involved.

A television crew from SEMTA recorded many events but above all interviews with Mark Webbers and those driving the initiative to be able to make a video case history for the benefits of companies who could become Inspire partners, helping with work experience and training and benefiting from work-ready graduates as their future employees.

Supporters and spectators cheered the 8 teams on and listened to Pauline Odulinski MBE, Chair of Inspire .and Mark Webber congratulate the contestants and award the prizes. Every participant received a certificate to add to their CV. The overall winners were the A team from Aylesbury College.

The competing colleges were the six founder members of Inspire… Amersham and Wycombe College, Aylesbury College, East Berkshire College (Slough/Langley), Milton Keynes College, The Henley College and West Herts College (Watford). Other colleges have stated their intention to join during 2015 and in the future.

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