Evaluating Girls’ Enthusiasm for STEM Studies in Motorsports

    The Thrilling Pathways to Careers in Australia’s $3.3 Billion Motorsports Sector: Empowering Women Through STEM Education

    The vast range of study pathways leading to lucrative careers in Australia’s booming $3.3 billion motorsports industry was recently showcased to a gathering of over 35 girls and young women hailing from Gladstone to the Gold Coast. The University of the Sunshine Coast, in collaboration with V8 Supercars’ PremiAir Racing at Arundel, co-hosted an information and mentoring day. The aim was to highlight how studies in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) can pave the way for exhilarating and adrenaline-filled professions within the motorsports field.

    The event, part of the Girls on Track Pathways program supervised by Motorsports Australia, strives to address the gender disparity prevalent in this global industry. The program specifically targets empowering women aged 15 to 22, with a particular focus on those from regional, rural, remote, and First Nations backgrounds.

    The diversity of potential careers in the motorsports sector often goes unnoticed by those outside the industry. Dr. Dan van den Hoek, UniSC Senior Lecturer in Clinical Exercise Physiology, emphasizes the multitude of opportunities available beyond the high-profile drivers and their pit crews. He emphasizes how university studies can greatly benefit individuals seeking to excel in this thrilling industry.

    During the event, UniSC academics shed light on various relevant degree programs, including sport science, engineering, business, management, marketing, psychology, clinical exercise physiology, communications, and journalism. Moreover, they highlighted the burgeoning opportunities for applied research as the industry rapidly embraces new technologies and pursues its sustainability goals.

    Dr. van den Hoek, who has previously worked as a sport scientist with Triple Eight Race Engineering, emphasizes the need to address the gross underrepresentation of women in both athlete and non-athlete roles within motorsports. Currently, female drivers account for less than five percent of the entire motorsport population. To rectify this issue, he believes in increasing the visibility of female professionals across the sector.

    The UniSC team organizing the event was fortunate to obtain a Queensland Government Investing in Queensland Women grant. This valuable grant allows organizations to create positive changes for women and girls within various fields, including motorsports.

    In conclusion, the recent information and mentoring day at V8 Supercars’ PremiAir Racing not only shed light on the thrilling career opportunities available within Australia’s $3.3 billion motorsports sector but also aimed to empower and inspire young women to pursue pathways within STEM fields. The collaboration between the University of the Sunshine Coast and industry professionals exemplifies the concerted efforts being made to bridge the gender gap prevalent in this exhilarating and fast-paced industry. With the backing of government grants, this program aspires to bring about lasting change and increase the visibility and representation of women across all roles within motorsports.

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