Black History Month: Lewis Hamilton’s diversity initiatives and their impact

Take a look into F1's Lewis Hamilton's efforts to promote black representation in Formula 1 and STEM.

Lohith Nyalapogula
27th October 2021
Image credit: Twitter (@LewisHamilton)
Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has also been championing diversity throughout his lustrous career; from being the first F1 driver to take the knee before a race for BLM to his uncompromising fashion sense in the face of ridicule.

From being the only black F1 driver ever, coming from a working-class background where his father had to work four part-time jobs, and being met with blackface and racism in the early stages of his racing career, Hamilton has firsthand felt the dire need for more diversity in the sport. Now he has plans to launch a scheme that aims to increase the recruitment of black teachers in science, technology and maths (STEM) subjects. 

We’re living in a time where diversity & inclusion is so important, and that’s why I started the Hamilton Commission.

Twitter: @MercedesAMGF1

The project comes as a result of the Hamilton Commission’s report, Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport, which outlines the lack of diversity in British motorsport and how to improve the representation of Black people. The Hamilton Commission found that only 2% of teachers are from black backgrounds and that 46% of schools in England have no racially diverse teachers as part of their staff at all. 

The commission also stated that 78.5% of the working-age population are white British with 85.7% of teachers falling within that category and, furthermore, it found that black STEM teachers were important to the engagement of young black students with these subjects. This is something Hamilton himself relates to as he claims he had no black teachers at all throughout his time in education and believes that if he had had a teacher who had understood his background, he would have achieved more in his academic life. 

According to Hamilton, the scheme "focuses on identifying the best way to attract black talent to STEM teaching roles" and "create a framework the wider education industry can implement". 

The programme aims to support the recruitment and training of 150 black STEM teachers to work in schools that lie in the disadvantaged parts of the country and will be “another step towards addressing barriers preventing young black students' engagement with STEM, as identified in the Hamilton Commission report". 

Hamilton also stated, "we know representation and role models are important across all aspects of society, but especially when it comes to supporting young people's development." 

The programme is the first partnership announced by Hamilton's Mission 44 scheme, which was set up earlier this year to "support, empower and champion young people from under-served communities" and there’s no doubt that there are further diversity programmes Hamilton is keen on bringing to fruition in the coming years.  

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