Network Rail graduates inspire students about STEM during Tomorrow’s Engineers Week
Teams of graduates and year-in-industry students from Network Rail, all volunteers, have been sharing their enthusiasm for STEM subjects in schools as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week (Monday 6 to Friday 10 November).
Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, co-ordinated by EngineeringUK, is an annual national initiative to help address the fact that 186,000 people with engineering skills will be needed annually through to 2024. Over 300 employers and professional bodies from across the engineering community have joined universities, schools and individuals in the week-long drive to inspire the next generation of engineers. It is part of a programme of co-ordinated schools outreach and careers inspiration.
The graduate visits are also part of Network Rail’s own year-round programme of early engagement in schools, including workshops about STEM subjects and railway safety.
In teams of 6-7, the graduates and year-in-industry students have been holding the activity days in schools near the organisation’s Milton Keynes office, visiting two schools every day. The sessions were delivered to around 500 students in years eight and nine, who have often been chosen from top sets as promising science students. The schools were chosen through Leicestershire Education Business Company (LEBC).
Each of the visits was built around three main activities: a bridge build challenge, a Lego level crossing build challenge (pictured) and a project management task.
The winning teams from each day are invited to attend a final challenge day at Network Rail’s Milton Keynes office on Friday 24 November, when there will be talks from key speakers and a programming challenge.
As volunteers, it is so rewarding to see all of the students really engaging with the activities and enjoying the day. The days have received very positive feedback from both teachers and pupils. It is especially heartening to see girls and boys alike enjoying the activities and working together.
It is a rare opportunity for us to be able to reach out to so many students and if we manage to open up even one young person’s mind to look into a career in engineering then we have been successful.
Involving graduates and year-in-industry students hopefully provides the students with a positive role model who can inspire them and offer basic career advice.
Bethany Quayle, graduate track engineer at Network Rail, who helped to organise the visits
Throughout the week, Network Rail has been supporting Tomorrow’s Engineers Week on its Twitter and Facebook channels.