A Manchester-based social enterprise is gearing up for global expansion after appointing five members to its newly-formed advisory board.

Nile Henry founded The Blair Project to help get young people from diverse backgrounds into STEM through motorsport after being inspired by his younger brother Blair, who dreamed of becoming a racing driver.

The initiative attracted international headlines when Prince Harry paid it a visit in 2016.

Now The Blair Project has announced five members to its new advisory board to guide the organisation as they make forays into global markets from Dubai to the USA to Africa.

They are Zulf Ali, CEO, York Medical Group; Marie Hamilton Greater Manchester region lead, Microsoft; Richard Mack, executive security consultant, IBM; Mike Perls MBE, founder and chair, MC2; Giles Chesher, corporate partner, Squire Patton Boggs.

Discussing the establishment of the board, Nile Henry said: “Innovation has helped us to achieve significant growth over the past few years. The high level skills, expertise and connections of our advisory board will help us to drive further growth and become a global EdTech provider for emerging technologies.

“This aligns with our commitment to develop the diverse workforce of innovators, technicians, engineers and entrepreneurs to tackle climate change. This strategic move is a testament to our commitment to excellence and innovation.

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“The board, composed of leaders and entrepreneurs, will provide invaluable insights and guidance as we embark on ambitious growth and expansion plans.

“Their collective wisdom and experience will be pivotal in shaping our strategic direction, ensuring we remain at the forefront of educational advancements.

“This initiative underscores our dedication to delivering world-class net zero education and training, preparing learners to succeed in an ever-evolving global landscape.”

The Blair Project describes itself as a social enterprise looking to diversify the STEM pipeline.

Their mission is to grow the army of innovators, technicians, engineers and entrepreneurs needed to tackle climate change, increase representation and inclusion in science and tech industries, and provide both the role models and the change-makers of tomorrow.

The outreach arms of The Blair Project works with young people to empower and enthuse them towards STEM careers.

The ProtoEV STEM Challenge sees teams retrofit petrol go-karts to convert them into electric karts, then test and race them at the peak of the programme: the race day, which also features representatives from STEM careers like F1, to further inspire them beyond the programme.

They also run day and half-day activities in schools, to introduce a younger age group to all the possibilities of science, and change negative perceptions around STEM, more commonly held by the marginalised groups they target.

They are also developing and launching an immersive gamified EV skills training app with career readiness features, to be used equally by prospective candidates looking to take their steps into green tech careers, and by employers looking to attract, develop and convert diverse, engaged talent into quality hires.

The Blair Project are also developing future apps to ensure that they are on the cutting edge of green tech and energy training in other sectors – due for launch in 2025.

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