Will Bakewell

Systems Development Engineer

Maths, Engineering, Physics, Design & Technology

Will was a Systems Development Engineer for Land Rover BAR on its challenge for the 35th America's Cup. In this role, he designed systems that use the sailors' energy to control the boat as efficiently and effectively as possible. Will went to the University of Cambridge where he studied mechanical engineering, after taking A Levels in physics, maths and geography. Before joining the team at Land Rover BAR, Will worked at McLaren Automotive where he contributed to improving the performance, ride and handling of high performance road cars.

Briefly describe a typical day for you at the Land Rover BAR base.

I speak with the sailing team to understand what they need for controlling different parts of the boat, then I try to invent new ways of doing this, while sticking to America's Cup rules. Then I mathematically model the proposed solutions to determine whether or not they will work. I also analyse data from sailing to show what what is working well and what we can improve upon.

Why do you think studying STEM subjects at school is important?

The ability to solve practical problems using science and maths is extremely valuable to employers, and is also very rewarding.

Briefly describe what you thought of STEM subjects in school, and whether your opinion has changed now?

There were times at school when I couldn't see the point of learning some things, but over time, and with experience, I can see the value of those lessons in what I do every day.

Name a STEM topic or skill which you learnt at school that you still use in your current role, and how you apply it.

I use algebra every day to model how systems are going to perform in real life.

What has been the highlight of your role so far?

Seeing innovations I have helped create be put into action and successfully tested on the boat.

What would be your advice for young people interested in pursuing a career in STEM?

Choose an area of science or technology that excites you and pursue that. If you change your mind about what you are interested in, the basic skills that you will have learned will still be useful!

If you could do another job in STEM, what would it be?

I am doing exactly the sort of job I want to be doing!