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Juliet McGuire

I’ve just learnt how to do an Insta Story and these kids are coding self-driving cars

How to feel like an under-achiever! I have only just learnt how to add music to my insta stories, and don’t even talk to me about the whole swipe up thing. And then you get teenagers who are able to write 200 lines of code in 30 minutes that can navigate a scale model Range Rover Evoque around a 5.7-metre circuit.

WHAT ON EARTH FOR?

I hear you ask. Well, self-driving cars will require an estimated one billion lines of computer code – almost 1 000 times more than the 145 000 lines required by NASA to land Apollo 11 on the moon. So Jaguar Land Rover is looking to meet the growing need for more coders to deliver these future autonomous and connected vehicles.

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 a 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.”

WHAT IS THE LAND ROVER 4X4 IN SCHOOLS TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGE?

So many questions you have! 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. 

The Land Rover 4×4 in Schools programme was launched in the UK in 2006 and was launched globally in 2015. The Challenge now operates in 20 countries and to date, 15,000 young people have participated in the programme. The competition inspires many students to pursue STEM careers in the automotive industry including former participants who have joined Jaguar Land Rover as undergraduates and apprentices.

Nick Rogers, Director of Product Engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, said, “The future of automotive is increasingly rooted in computer engineering and software development as we move to a world of autonomy. As an employer we are helping develop the next generation of engineers while future-proofing our business an estimated 1.2 million more people with specialist digital skills needed by 2022 in the UK alone.”

How do you feel about yourself right now? Ya, me too. Ah well, these kids will never know what it feels like to itch after playing on the grass. I am hoping there is comfort in that somewhere, but I fear there is none.

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