Amjad Saeed and Jonathan Keeya both started their MSc in Motorsport Engineering at Oxford Brookes this academic year, as part of the scheme which was set up to address the underrepresentation of people from a Black or mixed Black ethnic background in UK motorsport.
Amjad and Jonathan are two of the first five students to benefit from the scholarship that was set up in June 2022, funded by Sir Lewis’s foundation Mission 44, and supported by The Royal Academy of Engineering.
Amjad, from London, said: “Receiving this scholarship has opened up a door for me I never would have been able to open myself, one where I can get myself into Oxford Brookes, and give my all into a career path I truly have a passion for, motorsport, and I’m thankful everyday for it.
“Being part of the first cohort of awardees excites me, it gives me the opportunity to help shape the scholarship and bring more prospective awardees to it, and to build it to something even more amazing with the Royal Academy of Engineering and Mission 44.
“I chose Oxford Brookes because of their motorsport pedigree and the amazing industry ties and support system they have. All it took for me to realise I made the right decision was seeing how fantastic the Formula Student facilities are and how high the quality of lectures have been.”
Jonathan, from New Malden, South West London, said: “The scholarship will have a lifelong impact on my career and it motivates me to prove what I am capable of with the right support and work ethic.
“I chose to come to Oxford Brookes because there’s a concrete legacy of producing graduates who are at the industry standard for motorsport.”
Each student on the scholarship will receive a grant of £25,000 for their tuition fees and living costs, with the aim of them finding employment within two years of completing their Master’s degrees, either in motorsport or an associated discipline of their choice.
Gordana Collier, Head of the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics at Oxford Brookes University, andTeam Principal of Oxford Brookes Racing Formula Student team, said: “Oxford Brookes has a proud and long-standing reputation in motorsport teaching and employability. We are delighted that this has been recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the high flying students Amjad and Jonathan, who chose us for their further academic studies.”
The MSc Motorsport Scholarship Programme was launched following The Hamilton Commission’s report ‘Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport’, which highlighted an underrepresentation of Black people in the motorsport industry.
Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, who co-chaired the Hamilton Commission with Sir Lewis, said: “It is imperative that engineers better reflect the diversity of the society they serve and that engineering careers are not only open to all, but are seen to be open to all. The recommendations in the Hamilton Commission report were intended to make that a reality for the motorsport sector, which relies so heavily on a technical workforce. I am delighted that we are able to support these five talented engineers in their studies and wish them every success in building exciting and rewarding careers in motorsport.”
In October, the five students attended a networking event at Silverstone Museum, where they met staff from Mission 44, The Royal Academy of Engineering, and also engineers from the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 team. They were also given a tour of the museum and had sessions in an F1 car simulator.
Katie Miller, Head of Impact at Mission 44, said: “The first recipients of the MSc Motorsport Scholarship represent an exciting step towards addressing the barriers for Black and mixed Black students and a more diverse motorsport sector. The scholarship aims not only to address financial barriers but provide the wrap around and community support to accelerate their careers. This is just the start of their journeys and we can’t wait to see where the next year takes them.”
The second round of applications for the scholarship opened on 17 October 2023, and applications can be made on the Academy’s website before the closing date of 4pm on 8 March 2024.