1 August 2023

The careers insight day, which took place ahead of the Silverstone Grand Prix weekend, brought together students to give them an invaluable insight into Formula 1 and the motorsport industry.

Cognizant, one of the world’s leading information technology and professional services companies, is a founding member of the Chancellor’s Circle – a network of employer partners across many sectors who are committed to creating new opportunities to enhance the employability of University of Westminster students and recent graduates. This opportunity at Silverstone is one of the latest ways in which Cognizant have continued to provide major support.

On the careers insight day, students were able to attend several panel sessions where they heard about new technology being used in Formula 1, advancements in the sector as well as touching on some of the wider challenges to inclusivity in sport, such as the need to diversify and provide better access to underrepresented groups, particularly bringing more women into the motorsport industry.

The students were thrilled to have the chance to be immersed in the world of Formula 1 racing. Business Information Systems BSc Honours student Jagodige Kularatne said: “Discovering the various STEM applications and innovations in the world of Formula 1 was both enlightening and inspiring. I gained valuable knowledge about the cutting-edge advancements and engineering marvels that drive the success of Formula 1 teams. Learning about the role of aerodynamics, data analytics, and material sciences in shaping the performance of the cars was fascinating.”

The event centred around bringing young people together through various activities throughout the day and one of the most impactful sessions was when students had the chance to hear from Aston Martin employees about the various roads that led them to finding a career in the motorsport industry. 

Software Engineering BEng Honours student, Yusra Masroor commented: “Talking to current employees about their jobs and learning about the skills that they needed to get to where they are was a great eye opener for all the students who attended as we could see the different pathways into the industry of motorsports.” 

Aston Martin took this occasion to announce their new partnership with the Aleto Foundation who will provide a bespoke leadership programme for 15 young students from minority ethnic backgrounds who are passionate to learn more about opportunities within motorsport and the world of Formula 1.

Maisha Khatun, Computer Science BSc Honours student, stated: “The event shed light on the immense significance of diversity in propelling technological innovation forward, leaving us all deeply inspired. Witnessing Aston Martin's proactive efforts, in collaboration with the Aleto Foundation, to empower and nurture aspiring young individuals in the fiercely competitive motorsport industry was nothing short of exhilarating.”

Throughout the day speakers made a point of highlighting the importance of diversity in tech and how vital it is to break down the barriers for more young people from various backgrounds to enter the industry and revolutionise it with brilliant ideas.

Midhusa Mohan, UK Outreach Strategist at Cognizant, said: “Cognizant Outreach is all about providing underrepresented groups in tech access to opportunities they may not have had otherwise to inspire and enable them to pursue STEM careers. So it was a real pleasure to provide such an opportunity to University of Westminster students at Aston Martin’s Make a Mark Day. The Future of Work discussion on the day, led by Cognizant Outreach, allowed students to think critically and creatively about the impact of AI on jobs as we know them today and the skills they’d need to undertake them - a discussion that we hope will enable them to be more informed and confident in their career decisions.” 

Established to support skill-building and workforce programmes through volunteer work, over the last two years, Cognizant Outreach volunteers have mentored Westminster students through the award-winning Future Ready Mentoring programmes, providing students with practical insights, knowledge and guidance to help them plan their future career. 

Zurria Qureshi, Mentoring Manager at the University of Westminster, was among the colleagues who attended the event alongside two mentees on the programme. She said: “It’s been wonderful to be part of the Make a Mark Day at Silverstone and we are so grateful to Cognizant for inviting University of Westminster students to join. Cognizant started supporting our students through mentoring in 2021, and it’s been fantastic to see our partnership grow  into so much more. We are excited to continue working together to create new opportunities to enhance student employability through the work of the Chancellor’s Circle.”

If you or your organisation are interested in collaborating with the University through the Chancellor’s Circle or the Future Ready Mentoring programmes, contact the Career Mentoring team.