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iRail to kick off for the fifth year in Derby

Innovation Rail (iRail) is returning to the Derby Roundhouse on Thursday 20th March for the fifth year running. This flagship event attracts hundreds of school students from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and sets out to inform and engage young people in the range of career opportunities in the railway industry.

Now integrated into The Big Bang initiative, iRail is a highlight of the rail industry calendar and forms part of National Science and Engineering Week and the Derby 175 celebrations – marking the start of rail engineering in the city.

It is supported by Derby City Council; Transport Innovation Network (iNet); Atkins – one of the world’s leading design, engineering and project management consultancies; Porterbrook – rolling stock leasing specialists; and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

The day-long event begins with a business breakfast with political, business and educational leaders from the local area. Year nine students from 12 local schools then get to take part in organised trips, exhibitor visits and engineering tasks which end in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition and presentation to leading industry figures.

Winners will go through to the Gen Y Rail national final, held in Coventry. Gen Y Rail is a programme of competitions run by the UK Rail Industry Training Trust (UKRITT) to promote careers in the UK rail industry. Participants in iRail, and the other regional Gen Y Rail heats, will receive the British Science Association CREST discovery award, funded by UKRITT.

Professor Richard Parry-Jones, chairman of Network Rail, will present the early-evening Distinguished Lecture.

Dave Saunders, chair of iRail said: “We are delighted Professor Richard Parry-Jones will be able to lead the debate on some of the major issues which affect the industry. He has extensive experience in the engineering and automobile industry and, having started his career as an apprentice, is an inspiration to many of our young people.

“iRail’s Derby location highlights the importance of the sector to both local and national economies as well as the career opportunities available in the region.”

Paul Jones, event manager said: “It’s fantastic to see iRail now forming part of The Big Bang, a UK wide initiative which demonstrates the scale of engineering and science to young people. This event will give an insight into the industry and should be a real focal point for the East Midlands.”

Mandie Stravino, chief executive of Derby College said: "We are delighted that this event is taking place this year again at The Roundhouse – the birthplace of rail engineering in the city and recognised as the world's oldest surviving building of its kind.

"iRail is a wonderful opportunity for school and college students to find out more about the diverse career opportunities open to them in the rail industry and to bring together employers to focus on key issues and celebrate achievements."

The day is also supported by the Derby & Derbyshire Rail Forum (DDRF), National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE), the Derby Railway Engineering Society (DRES) and Rail Technology Magazine (RTM).

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]

(Image shows students presenting at iRail 2013)


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