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Rail career opportunities at Gen Y Rail West Midlands

Students at the West Midlands heat of the national Gen Y Rail competition have been told about the ‘exciting career opportunities’ rail can offer them in the future. 

At the event, co-organised by the UK Rail Industry Training Trust and Network Rail, Katie Ferrier programme manager on the central electrification scheme at Network Rail, outlined the diversity of career paths available in rail from the operational side through to maintenance, construction and consultancy. 

Ahead of the day’s challenge to design a ‘futuristic’ train to transport 100 students, 10 teachers, 20 Network Rail staff and a freight object, the students from across the region were told about the significant £38bn investment in CP5, the major electrification programmes taking place and the huge infrastructure projects such as HS2 and the Northern Hub, which will offer thousands of jobs in the future. 

Ferrier said: “It is an exciting time to be in our industry, especially with the significant investment and growth that is taking place, and it is our responsibility to get people involved in that. I also hope that this event will highlight the diversity of the opportunities available in rail.” 

Katie Ferrier

Held at Network Rail’s Westwood training facility, more than 20 teams of students from schools and colleges from across the region are competing to design a train to meet the challenges of the future. Once the challenge is complete, the teams, which have been divided into five different rooms, will present their solutions to a Dragons’ Den-style panel of judges in the afternoon. 

The five best teams will then go on to compete against winners from around the country in the national final at the Westwood training facility on 25 June.  

Speaking to RTM at the event, Bill Templeton, education programme manager at Network Rail, said he was excited to be a judge at the event and believes there are great opportunities, across the industry, to stimulate interest in starting a career in rail.

Tim Priestley, project manager of the West Coast power supply upgrade at Network Rail, added that he wished events like Gen Y Rail had been around when he was first looking to start his career. He also stated that “once you do start the journey in your rail career the opportunities are endless”.

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