‘Promote, inspire, develop’ – the credo of Young Rail Professionals (YRP) can be seen in full force with the YRP Ambassadors programme.
YRP Ambassadors provide a positive and insightful outreach presence in schools, colleges, and universities on behalf of the rail industry. Collaboration with STEMNET and numerous other organisations has led to some particularly unique outreach events of late.
Making the most of the expanded regional structure of YRP, this month’s article highlights the expansion of diverse engagement events supported and led by YRP in the recent months.
Outreach in the North
Kicking off YRP Yorkshire’s first official Ambassadors outreach event, Andrew Belson and Daniel Liau supported MEGAJam at the National Science Learning Centre, at the University of York. Over 200 children and young adults got to experience different technologies from across the STEM industries, through science and engineering experiments.
MEGAJam saw academics, scientists, and engineers sharing their experiences, advice, and motivation with the younger generation. YRP promoted the railway industry with video, stories, and personal experiences which prompted the children to ask questions on the future of the railway industry. The success of the day has prompted discussions to make it an annual event; YRP looks forward to supporting it in the future!
Outreach in the South
Moving south, on 11 June, over 300 year 8/9 students from across Hampshire descended on Basingstoke for a day of inspiration, challenges, and finding out about STEM careers.
Three YRP Ambassadors spent the day working with schools to make their visit enjoyable and insightful.
TeenTech is a national event series, founded by television’s Maggie Philbin, and 22 schools attended from across Hampshire, with the event featuring over 200 business volunteers from companies as diverse as Air Products, Virgin Media, AWE, Sony, and Siemens.
The venue was split into three areas: the Innovation Zone, the Challenge Zone and the Insight Zone, where companies offered hands-on demonstrations and challenges.
YRP Ambassadors Temi Afolabi, Michael Bastow, and Adam Stead each supported a group of 10 students to help them discover the activities, to assist them through the challenges and to answer their questions throughout the day, dispelling the stereotypical myths about STEM careers.
In the Innovation Zone, teams worked on prototyping an invention to make life better, simpler, safer or more fun, using a DIY Inventing Kit from Technology Will Save Us. The activity encouraged students to think about the need for inputs, power, outputs, communications, and processing, as well as how the inventions would be marketed, and how they would impact society.
Temi Afolabi noted, ‘It was a great opportunity to work with the girls from Trinity School, and their ideas were very fascinating. The group came up with the idea of developing finger print technology for entering your home and school, and this could also be applied to other areas. They won the award for best presentation, for being able to articulate effectively.
‘It was great to see the younger generation coming up with ideas and being able to work as a team.’
In the Challenge Zone, the children worked in depth with companies to solve problems. From additive manufacturing to robotics and even a railway challenge from Siemens. The children got to spend time learning in a lot more depth about specific technology solutions through a series of 30-minute challenges.
Michael Bastow, a graduate electrical engineer at Atkins Transportation, enjoyed the day alongside the children, saying, ‘I thought the Challenge Zone was brilliant! It gave the pupils I was with a real flavour of what work in a STEM career could be like, from working as a team to manufacture health and beauty products during intense one minute production runs, to trying to build Lego models in a chamber designed for handling radioactive materials. I think a great day was had by all and I would definitely take part again.’
TeenTech events take place in 13 regions across the UK, and YRP will look to support this event in more regions in the future, given its great success.
To support regional expansion of YRP networking, development, and promotion efforts, YRP hosts large- scale YRP-STEMNET Ambassador induction events in each of its regions, giving YRP members the necessary STEMNET inductions to allow them to provide outreach in schools.
None of these outreach opportunities would be possible without an impressive team of Ambassadors, more of whom are always needed.
To learn more about YRP Ambassadors Programme, or to become a YRP Ambassador yourself, please e-mail: [email protected] youngrailpro.com