Fast Trackers 2019 - Launch Event

On Friday 15th March Level 3 students from across the North East attended the Fast Trackers 2019 launch event at Newcastle College Rail Academy.

Fast Trackers is an exciting programme that will introduce students to engineering with Network Rail and Mott MacDonald. The programme uses the exercise of developing a high-speed railway, as a vehicle to give insight into engineering careers and to provide the necessary careers information, advice and guidance. Students participate in a higher education visit day, an employer and station visit day, and the regional final.

During the morning, the students received a warm welcome by the FutureMe team and the Network Rail and Mott MacDonald partnership and heard about the activities that they’ll be undertaking during the programme. As students had just been informed of the engineering challenge components the presentation skills session that followed was a fantastic way for students to identify their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to public speaking, and practice in front of a supportive audience. Students also heard from teaching staff at the Rail Academy about the various academic routes that underpin engineering roles, including the various apprenticeship levels.

After lunch, the students all donned the PPE and took to the track where they were coached by current rail engineering students. Everyone picked up the practical skills quickly, and students were able to ask questions about life as an engineering student. The day was completed with an introduction to higher education and student life which was the perfect way to end the day.

Students taking part in a practical engineering session.

Students now look forward to a station visit and an employer visit before they join young people from York and Leeds at the Engineering Challenge Day at Bradford University on 20th May, where they will design the high-speed railway before presenting their solutions to a panel of industry judges.  The winners will progress to the National Final in Birmingham in July.

With thanks to James Richards, Network Rail, for this article.

With thanks to Newcastle College Rail Academy, the Newcastle College FutureMe team, Network Rail and Mott MacDonald for their input in the day.