The next generation of software engineers is already preparing themselves for a smart, self-driving future by bridging the skill gap, as fully-autonomous vehicles will require more than a billion lines of code, compared to just 145,000 needed to land the Apollo 11 on the moon in 1969. Helping the cause is the unique Land Rover 4×4 in Schools programme, which is now inspiring and teaching coding to the engineers of tomorrow. In 2018, there were around 23 million software developers worldwide, but now this population is expected to grow to 27.7 million in the next 4 years.
The Land Rover 4×4 in Schools programme has already helped the company reach more than 4 million young people since 2000. This year, Jaguar Land Rover will launch a new Digital Skills Apprenticeship programme to attract the brightest computer engineers to help code its next-generation electric, connected and autonomous vehicles and support the factories of the future.
Many talented teenagers are competing in this year’s Land Rover 4×4 In Schools Technology Challenge world finals, which is a global education enrichment initiative aimed at encouraging the young generation to take up STEM careers in which they will be able to write over 200 lines of code in just 30 minutes, to successfully navigate a scale model Range Rover Evoque around a 5.7-metre circuit. This year 110 students from 14 countries had qualified for the world finals which was held at the University of Warwick. The NewGen Motors team from Greece ended up lifting the trophy, following two days of intensive competition.
David Lakin, Head of Education from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), said: “We’re in the midst of a digital skills shortage – the UK alone requires more than 1 million software engineers to fill the growing demand for roles requiring the knowledge of coding, software engineering or electronics. Digital skills are vital to the economy, which is why the IET is proud to support initiatives like the Land Rover 4×4 In Schools Technology Challenge to ensure we inspire, inform and develop future engineers and encourage diversity across STEM subjects from a young age. If we are to safeguard jobs for the next generation, we must equip the workforce of the future with the skills they will need to engineer a better world.”
Nick Rogers, Executive Director of Product Engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Computer engineering and software skills are more important than ever in the rapidly changing automotive industry, and that will only increase as we see more autonomous, connected and electric vehicles on the roads. The UK will need 1.2 million more people with specialist digital skills by 2022, and as a technology company, it’s our job to help inspire and develop the next generation of technically curious and pioneering digital engineers. The Land Rover 4×4 In Schools Technology Challenge is just one of the ways we are doing this, as well as our new Digital Skills Apprenticeship programme we are launching this year.”