It’s International Youth Day!

It’s International Youth Day!

Published 12 August 2019 | Average read time
4 min read
Stories Life at Network Rail Stories

The theme this year is transforming education, highlighting efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all young people.

At Network Rail, our engineers are passionate about sharing the excitement of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

We offer apprenticeships and graduate and placement schemes for a wide range of careers.

For schools, see our Awesome Railways resources. They help teach children about career possibilities on the network.

Hear from engineers Donna Chappel, a team leader, and Natalie Farbrace, an operative, in Kent about why they love their jobs:

For International Women in Engineering Day in June, Donna and Natalie took part in a new film to tell young people what engineering meant to them.

Here’s what some of their colleagues had to say…

Kamini Edgley, acting chief engineer:

Why would you tell a young person STEM is exciting?

“STEM is everywhere. It’s everywhere you look in our society… STEM enables us to live the life we do today – you’ve got Xbox, you’ve got WiFi, you’ve got all this technology you enjoy. That would not be possible without STEM subjects. If we see how fast technology is moving, it’s very exciting because you don’t know what’s around the corner.”

What’s it like working with the younger generation?

“I love it. I was a graduate trainee once, when I left university. It’s really exciting because they really come up with new ideas and I do promote a Year in Industry… It’s about showing them how they contribute, the value they can add.”

Tara Scott, principal engineer, track:

Why would you tell a young person STEM is exciting?

“Education is developing as much as the rest of the industry – how do we teach people differently? You can put it into practical terms. If you find a career you love, it’s so easy to tie STEM subjects into that.

“I’m passionate about making rounded individuals. Whereas STEM is really important to get that base knowledge, it’s those other subjects that make you a rounded person… It will make us much better and more diverse engineers in the future than just concentrating purely on STEM subjects.”

What would you tell a young person who doesn’t think engineering is for them?

“It may not be, but I think look at the railway as being a huge family where whatever your passion is, whatever you’re interested in, you’ll find a home on the railway. Engineering is exciting, it’s innovative, it’s pushing boundaries. There are so many different roles within the railway that your passion can come out… We need everyone.”

Helen Warnock, an infrastructure maintenance delivery manager in Kent:

Do you remember the first thing you ever built?

“A little seesaw. I used to make little funfair rides for my sisters… I’d got an old tricycle, I’d got a plank and worked out if you put it right in the middle it sorted of balanced and we’d take turns and had our own little seesaw.”

What led you to join the railway?

“I went to university and did degrees in English literature… I saw a job on the railway and thought I’d get a short-term job… but I just fell in love with it. I fell in love with working outside. It was totally different from anything I’d done before.

“You just fall in love with it. You fall in love with the people, you fall in love with the fact that every day is different, you fall in love with the fact you get the chance to learn things. I was motivated by wanting to learn things. The railway gave me that – they sent me to college, to university to do engineering.”

Why is now the best time to be work in engineering?

“Because of the sheer scale and opportunity that’s available out there. There’s been, even in my career… so much innovation. We’ve moved so far ahead with things like safety and the mechanics of how we do things. The opportunities to develop are huge, there are more schemes coming out onto the railway, whether you want to be involved in the digital side of things or mechanical side of things in renewals. It’s mind-blowing how much opportunity there is out there for everyone.”

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