Fast Tracker Programme: The Next Generation of Rail Engineers

HS1 Ltd is working with Network Rail and our industry partners to help lay the foundations for the next generation of rail engineers. This summer, students from a number of schools and University Technical Colleges (UTCs) will be taking part in the Fast Trackers programme - a scheme designed to offer 16-19-year-olds from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds the chance to experience career opportunities available in the rail industry.

This year, between 60 and 70 young learners from London will take part in a three-day regional event (London Regional Heat) comprising of an Employer Visit, Higher Education Day and an Engineering Challenge, with the aim of encouraging career motivation and developing skills for the workplace. Those who participate in the scheme will be awarded the nationally-recognised Industrial Cadets (Bronze) award.

On Tuesday, 4th June, we hosted an Employer Visit day at St Pancras International Station. Students embarked on an engineering tour, a talk on high-speed trains from a Eurostar Engineer and a trip on Southeastern High Speed to Stratford Olympic Park. We are also sponsoring a trophy for the London Regional Finals and providing a photographer and expert judge for the challenge day.

In its first year, Fast Trackers had a considerable impact. College attendance improved from 55% to 95% for some of the participants and, as a direct consequence, several of the students are now studying engineering. The programme has won a Construction News Talent Award and is also shortlisted for Rail Staff Awards and Educate North Awards.

We are excited to help deliver such a diverse programme, which can be broadened and made even more successful over the years to come. HS1 Ltd work closely with Urban Partners to continue to support children and students, by offering initiatives including homework club in partnership with Eurostar, language lessons for foreign students and career mentors, among many other initiatives.