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Bloodhound’s legacy of inspiration

When the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car makes its first test run at Cornwall Airport Newquay next month, the world will be watching.

Not only will the event be streamed live to a global audience, there are expected to be in excess of 200 national and international media representatives in Cornwall on the day, and more than 2,000 invited guests and sponsors.

We should not underestimate the massive opportunity this presents to showcase our growing aerospace (and space) sectors and infrastructure to the world.

Not many people realise it but Bloodhound has had a base at Newquay since 2011. This was when the team decided to take advantage of the business rate relief provided by the airport’s Aerohub Enterprise Zone, which was established by the LEP in the same year to attract investment and create jobs in the aerospace sector.

Newquay also has excellent facilities. These include hardened aircraft shelters (which turn out to be ideal for rocket testing), and a 1.7 mile runway, which is handy for next month’s 200mph shakedown tests. It’s also a key reason why we are bidding for Newquay to become the UK’s first Spaceport for horizontal spacecraft launches.

Since 2012 the Bloodhound team has returned to test different aspects of the car in preparation for their 1,000mph record breaking bid in South Africa in 2019. To put that in context, driving at that speed in a straight line from Newquay to Truro would take around 45 seconds.

But Bloodhound’s real legacy – in addition to what we hope is a new land speed record – will be inspiring the next generation about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

That’s why Bloodhound exists, to inspire an entire generation of new engineers through an iconic project that allows the student population to join in a hair-raising adventure that pushes research and technology to the extreme.

And it’s why the Careers and Enterprise Company and LEP will be subsidising the costs of 3,000 Cornish schoolchildren to see Bloodhound as part of the Cornwall Skills Show at Cornwall Airport Newquay on October 30.

This year’s Skills Show, which is supported by the Careers and Enterprise Company, the Cornwall Education Business Partnership and Cornwall Council, has been organised in partnership with Bloodhound and we hope it will be a real eye opener for the younger generation about the career opportunities available in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. If your businesses would like to exhibit at the show and help inspire the next generation, then please see the LEP’s website for details.

Inspiring and raising the aspirations of our young people is critical to the future of our economy. Cornwall has made tremendous strides in the last 20 years improving its education offer, and we are now doing the same with careers advice.

It’s really important that young people know what opportunities there are on their doorstep, and that businesses have access to the right pool of talent to meet their needs. That’s why the Careers and Enterprise Company and LEP jointly funds an Enterprise Advisers Network that brings real business people and local schools together so that young people can learn about how to make the transition to work. We are always on the lookout for new advisers and schools to join the programme, so please get in touch if you are interested.

As the engineering team continue to prepare Bloodhound for its maiden run over the coming weeks, I hope that children across our region get enthused about the history that will be made right here in Cornwall.

And then next year, when they hopefully follow Bloodhound’s land speed record attempt online and on television, they can say with some pride, “I was there” when the car was tested at Newquay.

Mark Duddridge is Chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

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Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, PO Box 723, Pydar House, Pydar Street, Truro, TR1 1XU
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