The Vendée Globe Energy Challenge launches their STEM Educational Programme at the 2015 Jersey TechFair, with the introduction of a first in a series of engaging workshops.

A core objective of the Energy Challenge is to inspire more people to pursue careers in engineering and innovation, by engaging them in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) at a young age. The STEM education provided by the Energy Challenge brings opportunities for young learners to experience the rewards of applying design, manufacturing, and testing technology through hands-on problem solving, creativity, and optimisation. Currently Britain is facing a serious shortfall in meeting engineering demand, with only one engineer available to fill every two vacancies. Skilled engineers are a vital contribution to the economy, and are needed in order to advance sustainable energy technologies, and to mitigate climate change. The Energy Challenge aims to help address this very real and serious problem by inspiring more people into technical disciplines.

STEM’s four disciplines are vital for a thriving economy, and a safe and healthy society. Until recently, Science and Maths were treated as separate entities, paying little attention to the technology behind products and systems, and the creative process used in engineering such technologies. In a world where technology reliance is only increasing, STEM learning shows significant opportunities for rising innovators. After all, engineering depends on findings from science, the application of maths, and the use of technological tools.

Phil Sharp, Skipper and Technical Director for the Vendée Globe Energy Challenge said:

“Innovation is absolutely integral to the Energy Challenge. The project is about pioneering technology, from the Zero CO2 Energy Management System to the engineering of sustainable performance composite materials. We want to showcase just how interesting and exciting STEM careers can be, in the hope that more inspired individuals will work towards innovating for our future.”

Last weekend the Energy Challenge kicked-off their Educational Programme at the 2015 Jersey TechFair with the SPEED CHALLENGE. The task was to understand how to maximise a boats energy efficiency through its shape, a key principle driver in industry vehicle and vessel design. Participants were to design, make, and race against the clock, a model boat in a 4m drag tank. This hands-on workshop focussed on the principles of buoyancy, stability, drag, and efficiency, delving into the basics of fluid dynamics, learning how a body moves through fluid.

Rebecca Linder, Head of Education & Marketing for the Vendée Globe Energy Challenge said:

“Throughout the TechFair more than 100 individuals took part in the SPEED CHALLENGE workshop, attracting people of all ages from 7 to 70! Quite simply, the workshop exceeded our expectations really confirming just how much people enjoy hands-on, problem-solving based learning to design an end-product. It was incredibly refreshing to see young learners permanently on task, discussing solutions and improvements in teams, whilst learning the fundamentals of fluid dynamics – a concept that is all around us, and yet is rarely touched upon in the curriculum.”

Carla Harris, Director at Digital Jersey, Co-founder and organiser of the Jersey TechFair said:

“The Jersey TechFair brings together businesses and the younger community in order to recognise the importance of technology and inspire people to innovate. We were very pleased that the Energy Challenge could be there communicating their project to sail around the world on zero emissions. The SPEED CHALLENGE workshop they introduced was a highly engaging addition to the event, and demonstrated exactly how innovative ideas are made through creative problem solving and applied learning.”

For further information on the Vendée Globe Energy Challenge please visit our new website at or contact Rebecca Linder for Education and Marketing on +44 (0) 7797 780 451 /, or Gordon Ritchie for Partnership enquiries on +44 (0) 7973 101534 /