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Smallpeice Trust Helps Students on Fast Track for Railway Careers

From 21st to 24th July, forty-five teenagers from across the UK had the unique opportunity to learn about how technologies come together to create state-of-the-art, safe and efficient railway transport systems. Sponsored by the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE) and the Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), this course forms part of a major initiative to encourage young people to consider railway engineering and railway systems engineering as a possible career in the future.

Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, July 31, 2014 --( Held at and led by the Institute of Railway Research at the University of Huddersfield, the students explored a range of subjects including railway vehicle dynamics, suspension, traction and braking and power trains. Working in small teams and using the various mechanical and electronic components supplied, the students had to design a railway vehicle to take part in two very different challenges, with the testing taking place on the Institute’s 30m 1/5 scale test track. The first was a sprint race with the aim being to complete an 18m course in the fastest time whilst also bringing the vehicle to a stop within a controlled distance. The second challenge was a head-to-head tug of war, which tested the traction and pulling power of their vehicles.

Valuable input was also provided from Winston Rasaiah, Inspector with the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch who provided students with an appreciation of the challenges of running a safe railway and an understanding of railway vehicle crashworthiness, whilst Professor Roger Goodall presented a Vision for 22nd Century Railways.

As well as working on the design, build and test elements of the projects, the students developed life skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, time management, finance and presentation.

Eileen Kinghan, Grants Manager, LR Foundation, commented: “We are delighted to support Smallpeice’s railway engineering initiatives. Through these hands-on activities, students gain a practical understanding of railway engineering and how technology contributes to safety. They realise that their ideas can make a difference, and see the value of developing their technical skills, through school and college or university. Our aim is to inspire young people to take up careers in this fast moving sector, at all levels.”

Gil Howarth, Chief Executive of NSARE added: “If the Railway Engineering industry is to attract the quantity and quality of young people required for the future, it is imperative that we raise awareness of the opportunities within Railway Engineering. As passenger and freight usage of the UK railways continues to increase the systems required to run them safely and efficiently are growing more and more complex but are often unseen by the public. This course gives a great insight into some of the engineering challenges addressed by those working in the industry every day. We are delighted to be working with The Smallpeice Trust and the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and to raise awareness of the exciting career opportunities railway engineering can offer young people.”

Dr Paul Allen, Assistant Director at The University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Railway Research commented: “In our first year of running a residential course with the Smallpeice Trust we were extremely impressed with the student’s enthusiasm and engagement with our lectures and challenges. The teams came up with great design ideas and seemed to enjoy pitting their wits against each other. We are confident they will walk away with a new appreciation of engineering challenges in the railway industry and hopefully a future career path!”

Dr Kevin P Stenson, Chief Executive of The Smallpeice Trust added, “Thanks to continuing support from NSARE and the LRF, we have been able to run this new course in partnership with the University of Huddersfield’s Institute for Railway Research. Through a varied programme, students have had the opportunity to explore the technologies and operational systems that are needed to create a high speed rail network. ‘HS2’ alone is set to create over 40,000 jobs over the coming years, which is why The Smallpeice Trust recognises how important it is to expose young people to this vital sector in a bid to bridge the skills gap, and make this type of engineering more attractive and accessible to today’s youth.”

The Railway Engineering course is organised by independent charity, The Smallpeice Trust, and is part of an on-going programme of residential courses to help young people aged 12 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing. Through running residential courses and STEM enrichment days, The Trust has reached out to 17,495 students across the UK in the past year.

Notes to Editors:

About the Lloyd’s Register Foundation:

Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), a UK registered charity and sole shareholder of Lloyd’s Register Group Ltd, invests in science, engineering and technology for public benefit, worldwide.

The National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE):

NSARE has been established by industry employers to meet the growing demand, both in terms of quality and quantity, for railway engineering skills across the UK.
Contact Information
The Smallpeice Trust
Claire Fisher
+44(0)1926 333203

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