Headingtonian engineer launches Blue Peter contest

A Headingtonian has joined forces with Blue Peter to launch an exciting competition combining creativity with science in design.

Ella Podmore left Headington in 2014 and now works as a materials engineer for McLaren. The contest, launched on 21st May, challenges young viewers to design a ‘Supercar of the Future’ for the chance to win a ride in a McLaren supercar driven by Top Gear’s famous racing driver, The Stig.

In the launch film, Ella talks about the importance of choosing materials which can make a car lighter and faster. Entrants, who have until 10th June to submit their design, are asked to consider how their car is powered, its environmental impact, what materials it’s made from and to choose an outstanding feature of the design to showcase.

Ella said: “This is a fantastic way to combine your creativity with science in design. I would encourage students to take this opportunity as a way to show your forward thinking and what you believe and want the automotive world to look like in 20, 40 or 100 years’ time.”

The engineer was enthusiastic about her time at Headington which she said led her towards her chosen career path.

She said: “Headington allowed me to have confidence in my ability, no matter what I was wanting to achieve.

“I believe the school has a fantastic way of teaching girls to explore their skills, be comfort as an individual and aim for the stars. They have built an environment where it felt ‘cool’ to achieve and perform at your best. Going into the industry I went into, being confident in yourself and your ability is a must, I wouldn’t be where I was today without this being instilled in me from school.”

The School is currently building a new Creativity & Innovation Centre – the Hive – which will allow pupils to have even deeper cross-curricular links.

Ella said: “Another thing I learnt from being at Headington is the cross over between design, science and engineering. Going through subjects via exams it can be easy to compartmentalise science from the arts, whereas in the world it couldn’t be more different. As an engineer at McLaren today, the aesthetic, design and creativity around our products is what the brand is about and is involved during the engineering phases as early on as possible. This is something I believe the Hive will do wonders for at the school.”

You can find out more about the competition here.