Lewis Hamilton’s charity, Mission 44, has committed to supporting the recruitment of 150 Black science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers in English schools.
Seven-time F1 champion Hamilton, the sport’s only Black driver, made a personal pledge of £20 million at the launch of Mission 44 in July.
The charity was set up to empower young people from underrepresented groups in the UK and to work alongside the Hamilton Commission, a body set up by Hamilton to better understand the barriers Black people face forging a career in motor racing.
The Commission’s early work has identified the importance of Black teachers and role models in looking to engage Black students with STEM subjects. Mission 44 will partner with UK charity Teach First to implement a two-year plan aimed at identifying best practices when recruiting Black STEM teachers.
The news was announced on Tuesday at the start of the UK’s Black History Month, which runs until the end of October.
Hamilton said he hopes Mission 44 and Teach First’s work creates a framework to be copied across the education industry.
“I am incredibly proud to be announcing the first partnership from Mission 44 today,” Hamilton said. “Our work with Teach First is another step towards addressing barriers preventing young Black students’ engagement with STEM, as identified in The Hamilton Commission report.
“We know representation and role models are important across all aspects of society, but especially when it comes to supporting young people’s development. By establishing this partnership, which focuses on identifying the best way to attract Black talent to STEM teaching roles, we hope to create a framework the wider education industry can implement.
“It’s our hope other organisations recruiting teachers will support and join us on our mission to see more diversity in the classroom.”
According to the Hamilton Commission, “the partnership builds upon findings and recommendations from The Hamilton Commission which identified that from 500,000 teachers in England, only 2% are from Black backgrounds and that 46% of schools in England have no racially diverse teachers at all. In addition to this, data reveals that only 1.1% of classroom teachers are Black African — despite making up 2.1% of the working age population — compared to 85.7% of White British teachers, who make up 78.5% of the working age population.”
Mission 44’s announcement highlighted Hamilton’s own experiences in school in the United Kingdom.
It said: “Lewis was motivated to establish this partnership due to his own experience at school where he felt his experience was different to his White counterparts, due to having no Black teachers at all throughout his educational journey.
“Lewis believes that if he had a teacher who understood his background better, he would have had more tailored support and achieved greater success in his studies. While Lewis was able to follow his talent and pursue a career in motorsport, not all students from Black backgrounds are given this opportunity, particularly if they are being closed out of the careers STEM can lead to, such as engineering positions in the motorsport industry, from an early age.”
Hamilton continues his push for a record eighth F1 championship at the Turkish Grand Prix on Oct. 10.