Young driver programmes, they're all the rage with your Renaults and Toyotas these days.
But the most successful and famous junior 'Stepladder to fame' will always be the one that helped a precocious German youth hone a sublime talent and go on to become the most successful Formula One driver in the history of the world, the Solar System, the Universe, etc.
It's too glib to say Michael Schumacher was just another wannabe when Mercedes-Benz signed him up to join its Sauber-run Group C sportscar programme in 1990. The kid was clearly better than average, but just how good was not yet obvious.
At 21, Schumacher was heading into his third year of car racing. He'd begun in Formula Ford, finishing second in the European series and fourth in his domestic championship, but crashed out of the Festival at Brands Hatch after tangling with Andrew Guye-Johnson.