JLR challenge targets next generation of coders

Jaguar Land Rover has been unearthing tomorrow’s software engineer’s by challenging them to write code for self-driving vehicles.

The Land Rover 4x4 In Schools Technology Challenge saw teenagers writing around 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 qualified for the world finals at the University of Warwick, with NewGen Motors team from Greece lifting the trophy following two intensive days of competition. According to JLR, the programme is a vital tool for recruiting more young people into coding and has helped the company reach more than four million young people since its inception in 2000.

“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,” said Nick Rogers, executive director of Product Engineering at Jaguar Land Rover.

“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 4x4 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.”

According to JLR, around 20 per cent more software engineers will be needed by 2023, with the World Economic Forum predicting that 65 per cent of today’s students will work in jobs that do not even exist yet. JLR’s call to action for investment in digital skills is backed by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which supports the 4x4 In Schools Technology Challenge.

(Credit: JLR)

“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,” said David Lakin, head of Education at the IET.

"Digital skills are vital to the economy, which is why the IET is proud to support initiatives like the Land Rover 4x4 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.”