I’ve spoken a number of times about university work placements on this blog but for those who are not planning on getting a degree or who are still at school, this can often seem a long way off.

Most school curriculums encourage students to organise work experience in order to enable them to see the differences between the school learning environment and a working environment. Whilst you can learn a great deal from spending a week in any company or institution, how incredible would it be to take a week out of school and experience everything that a Formula 1 team has to offer ? Too good to be true ? Well, read on.

McLaren have announced their 2016 work experience program which is inviting Year 10 & 11 students to go and spend a week in a number of different departments within McLaren Racing. The areas that you can get involved with include Rapid Prototyping (3D printing), Composite Laminating, Composite Assembly and an insight into Paintshop, Gearbox and Non-Destructive Testing.

Not only will this be a fantastic opportunity to see Formula 1 behind the scenes but it will form a very solid foundation for your CV as you build your portfolio of experience. If you can get selected for a program such as this then every subsequent motorsport or educational application that you make from this point forward will pick you out of the crowd. The first step is often the hardest and here is an unbeatable opportunity to make it into a giant leap.

Details of the program can be found here :


I would suggest reading the details very carefully as there are often many clues as to how to structure your application. The job advert itself asks for passionate and enthusiastic individuals and whilst it is a simple thing to describe yourself as passionate and enthusiastic, DEMONSTRATING that is much more difficult. McLaren will be looking for people who are dedicated and determined to get into Formula 1 and are prepared to work hard to achieve this. Think hard about what you can write and how you can show that you have the qualities that they are looking for.

The application process asks you to choose either McLaren Racing or McLaren Applied Technologies. It will then give you 900 words to answer the following questions :

    What interests you about your chosen McLaren Technology Group Company and McLaren as a whole ? (200 words)
    How do you think this placement will assist you in your future career goals? (200 words)
    Tell us about the technological innovation that interests you (500 words)

It is your response to these 3 questions that will make the difference. They do not ask for any evidence of school grades or achievement in subjects at school. Your performance and passion out of the classroom is all that will be considered. You should think carefully about why this is so.

One point of note is that whilst the majority of you will be determined to head straight for McLaren Racing, you should seriously consider putting your application towards McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) instead or as well. Why ? Competition – that’s why.

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In this blog we talk often about not following the crowd and taking a smarter and more considered approach to F1. If you think about how the crowd flocks to F1, your chances of getting a work experience placement at MAT are probably significantly higher. As you will know if you do your research, MAT is heavily involved in racing both through F1 and through other motorsport series and yet is largely unheard of outside of the racing industry. A week’s work experience at MAT will give you exactly the same insight and credibility as a week at McLaren Racing and yet will be far keenly fought over. A chance to be smart about your career is staring you in the face here – you would be foolish to ignore this career arbitrage.

Note that McLaren are only taking applications from Year 10 & Year 11 students and work experience is not available between 8th-19th August due to an enforced Formula 1 shutdown. Applications close on Friday 12th February 2016. Best of luck – make the most of this as this could be the opportunity you have been waiting for.

Check out these other McLaren and work experience related posts :

What is it like to work at…McLaren F1 team?
School Work experience at Williams F1
A look inside : Graduate Design vacancy at McLaren F1
F1 Work Placements – too good to be missed.