McLaren Racing recently launch 60 Scholars, a new programme to encourage and support the next generation of female leaders in STEM. 60 Scholars is named to mark McLaren Racing’s 60th anniversary and aims to inspire 60 aspiring female STEM leaders through an accelerated course of learning and mentorship. The programme is supported by three Founding Partners: Google, Cisco and Cadence, all of whom are leaders in their fields and who strive to empower women into STEM careers.

Kate O’Hara-Hatchley is the Head of Diversity, Early Careers and Development at McLaren Racing, and Formula Careers recently caught up with Kate to find out more about this ground-breaking programme:

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with McLaren Racing?

I work in the people team here at McLaren Racing as Head of Diversity, Early Careers and Development. Myself and my team are responsible for our DEI strategy and associated programmes, recruiting and developing our next generation of talent and supporting the development progression of our team across McLaren Racing.

What inspired McLaren Racing to launch the 60 Scholars program?

We have already made some great impact through our McLaren Racing Engage Programme and, in honour of our 60th anniversary, we wanted to create a legacy for the future, working with our partners. The programme was borne out of our shared focus and vision to support more women into STEM careers, which was something that Google, Cisco and Cadence were equally passionate about. The coming together of our organisations creates a really unique programme, giving the cohort access to four organisations rather than just one.

Can you tell us about the driving force behind this initiative?

The shared focus of McLaren, Google, Cisco and Cadence to inspire and support more women into STEM roles and industries drove the creation and design of this programme. We saw the benefit of collaboration in order to create an even more impactful programme and legacy.

The 60 Scholars program focuses on empowering aspiring female leaders in STEM. Why is it crucial to create more opportunities for women in these fields, and how do you envision the program making a lasting impact?

Women make up just 16.5% of engineers in the UK, according to Engineering UK and this figure reduces further when looking at women in leadership roles. It’s therefore critical that STEM organisations invest and focus on supporting female talent into our industries to ensure that a breath of perspective, approach and innovation solves the problems of tomorrow. We hope that this programme will equip the cohort with technical knowledge, a network of contacts, inspiring role models and an increased sense of confidence and direction for their careers.

Could you provide some insights into the selection process for the 60 Scholars program?

The selection process is made up of two parts. First an application form outlining eligibility against the programme criteria and answering some questions around why they want to be involved in the programme. The second stage of the process is then a series of video interview questions that deep dive further into the applicant’s aspirations, reasons for applying and how they will make the most of the programme.

What qualities and attributes are you looking for in applicants?

We are looking for scholars that have clear aspirations to move into STEM and leadership roles longer term, coupled with evidence of them already putting this into practice via their studies, extra-curricular activities or volunteering. The scholars will need to evidence that that they are studying or have recently studied a STEM subject which can include physics, chemistry, biology, software, IT, analytics, engineering, mathematics, finance and design. The scholars will also need to be aged 18-23 and based in the UK.

McLaren Racing has partnered with Google, Cisco, and Cadence for this program. How do these collaborations enhance the offerings and opportunities available to the scholars?

Google, Cisco and Cadence are all global industry leaders in technology. By having them involved in the programme it gives the scholars access to current leaders in STEM and uniquely gives them insight into a range of organisations and industries. The breadth of technology, industry and opportunity makes this programme really unique.

The program offers a series of masterclasses and mentorship opportunities. Can you share some further details about these?

Each organisation will deliver a masterclass that will deep dive into a particular technology or product providing technical knowledge and insight, along with understanding the career paths available in these spaces. Throughout the programme the cohort will have the ability to network with leaders and role models in each organisation such as meeting female STEM ambassadors within McLaren for four Q&A sessions and in-person networking at the wrap event at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking. These interactions will raise awareness of inspirational women already working in our teams but will also enable the cohort to hear their advice on how to pursue their aspirations.

Are there any opportunities for the 60 Scholars to engage directly with the McLaren Racing team and gain insights into the world of professional motorsport?

Absolutely! The scholars will be invited to four STEM ambassador sessions, each featuring a female member of our team who will share their journey and advice along with the opportunity to ask questions. As well as this, the McLaren Racing masterclass will provide insight into our team and the technology they use day to day in order to deliver our on track performance. Finally, they will have the ability to network with some of our team in-person at the wrap event at the MTC.

Looking ahead, what excites you the most about the future of McLaren Racing and the 60 Scholars program?

We are really excited to find 60 inspirational young women and to provide them the knowledge, network and confidence to bring their aspirations to life. We are looking forward to keeping connected to the cohort and seeing how they progress, with the ambition that some of the cohort join McLaren Racing, Google, Cisco or Cadence after the programme.

Are there any specific goals or milestones that you are particularly eager to achieve?

We’d love to see alumni from the programme joining our organisations and serving as the next generation of role models for future programmes such as this.

What advice would you give to young women who are considering a career in STEM and are interested in applying for the 60 Scholars program?

Go for it – we don’t need any work experience credentials to apply just clear passion and aspiration to lead in the STEM field in the future. We encourage everyone to push themselves out of their comfort zone and to constantly learn in their pursuit of their aspirations and applying for this programme is one step a young woman can make on her journey to leading within STEM.

To find out more and how to apply, simply follow this link:

Good luck with your applications!