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Students on Track for a Career in Railway Engineering

From 2nd to 5th July, one hundred students gathered at the University of Bath to attend a specially designed Railway Engineering residential course. Sponsored by the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE) and Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), this course forms part of a major initiative to encourage young people to consider railway engineering as a future career. Cutting across many disciplines, the course explored the design, construction and operation of railways and gives a valuable insight into what our future railways could look like.

Over the four days, the 13 and 14 year olds had the opportunity to learn about railway engineering through a series of presentations and practical exercises. Working in teams, they tackled ‘real-life’ challenges on projects designed and facilitated by young engineers from industry. The companies taking part were Babcock Rail, FirstGroup plc, Network Rail and Transport for London. Projects included designing and building: a railway track complete with bends; bridges and tunnels and an operational signalling system.

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. The social programme included a film night, bowling and a formal dinner and disco.

Eileen Kinghan, Director of Grants at LRF commented:
“For a third year, LRF agreed to support Smallpeice’s railway engineering Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Days and a residential course. The Smallpeice initiatives give young people an understanding of the skills they need to develop to equip them for the new and increasing opportunities that we are seeing in this fast-moving sector.”

Gil Howarth, Chief Executive of NSARE added: “The Railway Engineering industry offers young people great career opportunities. Now more than ever before is an exciting time to join the industry with a huge amount of money and new technology being invested in our railways to ensure they are world class. There are opportunities for young people to join the industry from school as apprentices or graduates with the opportunity to progress in their career development as far as they wish, quite literally as the industry offers career opportunities across the world for those who wish to pursue them. We are delighted to be working with The Smallpeice Trust and LRF and to raise awareness of the exciting career opportunities Railway Engineering can offer young people.”

Dr Andrew Cave, Chief Executive of The Smallpeice Trust added:

“We are most grateful for the continuing support from NSARE and LRF on this programme. Rail is one of the greenest forms of transport and massive investment is being injected into our railway infrastructure. Giving young people the opportunity to discover for themselves the excitement, challenge and reward of a career in railway engineering is vital in encouraging the engineers of tomorrow while equipping them to meet the social, environmental and economic challenges of the future.” These activities spark an interest in engineering and science, igniting a genuine desire for many to consider careers in these fields. This is particularly encouraging amongst those who have traditionally had limited or no history of engagement with this type of activity. The LRF and NSARE are also sponsoring an advanced Railway Systems Engineering course for 15 to 17 year olds this summer which will take place at the University of Birmingham.

All Smallpeice courses are linked to the National Curriculum and are designed to improve core skills such as team building, financial management, communication and problem solving. By attending one of our courses students will gain experience of university and working life that will accelerate their personal development and their potential for greater academic achievement. The Railway Engineering course is run by independent educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust, and is part of an on-going programme of residential courses to help young people aged 13 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 20,353 students across the UK in the past year.

The new course timetable for 2014 will be launched in the autumn school term. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To find out more, visit, or telephone The Smallpeice Trust on 01926 333200. * * * END * * * Notes to editors:

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About The Smallpeice Trust:

The Smallpeice Trust is an independent charitable trust which promotes engineering as a career, primarily through the provision of residential courses for young people aged 12 to 18.

The Smallpeice Trust was founded in 1966 by Dr Cosby Smallpeice, a pioneering engineer and inventor of the Smallpeice Lathe. Following the stock market flotation of his company Martonair, Dr Smallpeice invested his energy and part of his personal fortune to set up the Trust to ensure that British industry could continuously benefit from his proven design and engineering philosophies: “Simplicity in design, economy in production.” The Trust is now governed by an eminent board of non-executive trustees and members from a diverse range of engineering, industry, educational and professional bodies.

In the past academic year, The Smallpeice Trust has reached out to 20,353 young people through 33 different subsidised residential courses, 1-day in-school STEM Days and STEM-in-a-Box kits. The Smallpeice Trust has also trained 913 teachers to enhance their delivery of STEM in the classroom.

A strong interface is maintained with industry, education and professional bodies that help to support, promote and develop the courses. Through these relationships the Trust is also able to provide a number of tailored or specialised courses.

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. For more information, visit

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.

Its vision is that by 2015 the engineering workforce will have the necessary skills to support the maintenance, development and expansion of a first-class, cost-effective 21st Century railway with every member of the engineering workforce in the railway industry having demonstrable competencies, This will be achieved by working with employers, education and training providers and wider stakeholders to understand the gaps in quantity and quality of railway engineering skills and develop effective sustainable solutions to address these gaps.

For more information, visit or call Sue Gill, Head of Business development on 07833 714601

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