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First Rail Week launches to promote railway careers

Rail organisations and companies are hosting a week of events to encourage more people to seek rail careers.

Rail Week will feature a series of events aimed at all ages in order to bridge the rail skills gap, with John Evans, CEO of the new College for High Speed Rail, saying that an additional 25,000 graduate engineers are needed.

Events include a tour of the Farringdon Crossrail station in central London hosted by engineering consultancy Bechtel, a showcase of the Bank station rebuild by Transport for London, and a visit to the Bombardier train manufacturing facility in Derby.

Sabrina Ihaddaden, national chair of Young Rail Professionals, said: “By getting the whole sector involved in Rail Week, we can collectively bridge the skills gap and celebrate the great careers in rail. It is important that companies across the sector and country get involved so we can truly represent the industry and inspire the next generation.”

Nicola Shaw, CEO of HS1 Ltd and author of the recent Shaw Report into the future of Network Rail, said: “The long-term future of the sector is dependent upon drawing in ever more diverse talent to the fantastic careers that are available in rail.

“Initiatives like Rail Week are commendable for the work that they do in highlighting what the rail industry has to offer young people and graduates, and I’m delighted to support them in encouraging people to consider a career in the sector.”

East Midlands Trains are hosting a careers information event for armed services leavers at Etches Park Maintenance Depot in Derby tomorrow, a tour of Derby station for two classes of 10-year olds from Pear Tree Primary School on Wednesday and a careers Twitter chat on Thursday.

Christopher Buckley, talent manager for East Midlands Trains, said: “Rail Week is a great opportunity to meet with young people, or anyone considering a change in career to show how rewarding, diverse and exciting a job in the rail industry can be.”

South West Trains and Network Rail are hosting public events at London Waterloo on Wednesday and Portsmouth & Southsea on Thursday. Guards, drivers, engineers and British Transport Police volunteers will be available to answer questions and there will be behind the scenes tours of stations and trains.

John Halsall, route managing director at Network Rail, said Britain’s railways were “a remarkable success story” and a bigger workforce was needed for upgrades to meet rising demand.

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