Design F1 cars and engineer your future

Posted October 13, 2011, by Helen Isbister

What do maths, science and racing cars have in common? Well everything in fact – and if you have never considered a career in engineering then start your engines.

The ‘F1in Schools’ competition has been running for six years and is giving our innovators of tomorrow an idea of just how exciting a career in engineering can be.

Thousands of Australian high school students are using professional-standard engineering equipment to design and construct the Formula 1 cars of the future. The program runs across 30 countries and inspires students to use and develop their physics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics and teamwork skills in a practical, competitive and exciting way.

They are learning that maths and science aren’t just about formulas and equations, but are the basis for an exciting career. And the best bit? There are plenty of engineering jobs available in Australia and around the world!

Engineers use mathematics and science to solve a wide array of technical problems. They are the brains behind bridges, buses, space shuttles, washing machines, mobile phones and even racing cars.

There are over 100 000 engineers in Australia, but thousands more are needed if we are to be at the cutting edge of infrastructure and innovation.

The shortage means there are plenty of career options for graduates, regardless of their speciality, whether they are interested in working in the public or private sector, out in the country or the middle of the CBD.

It also means engineers are in a strong position to negotiate decent salary packages, with the average wage for engineers now over $100 000. Firms are also working hard to keep employees happy by making workplaces rewarding and interesting, and putting a strong emphasis on career development.

Career opportunities for engineers are constantly evolving. Recent years have seen technology create new engineering disciplines, such as computer systems, environmental and biomedical engineering and mechatronics.

Engineering skills are also highly transferable, so if you have that degree under your belt you will have the opportunity to move into investment banking, management consulting, marketing, IT or telecommunications.

With so much scope, security and salary potential why are there still skill shortages in engineering?

Peter Taylor, the chief executive of Engineers Australia, says the skills shortage problem starts back in high schools where maths and science are subjects that are being overlooked by many students. Part of the answer is to develop engaging ways to teach these subjects in ways that capture the imagination of our young people. 

Which brings us back to creating Formula 1 racing cars. If you are in Years 7–12, check out the competition at to turn maths into something magical and get a glimpse into life as an engineer.

Helen Isbister

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