Newcastle College’s rail academy hosted the launch of Fast Trackers 2019 on March 15.
During the morning, a group of 30 college students were welcomed by organisers Network Rail and Mott MacDonald and introduced to the academic routes into engineering by college staff.
Learners donned PPE and took to the track where they were coached by the college’s students on how to remove fastenings and replace rails using manual tools and lifting equipment.
A station and employer visit now awaits the group before they join learners from York and Leeds at an engineering challenge day at Bradford University on May 20, where they will design and presents plans for a high-speed railway.
Organised for the first time last year, Fast Trackers tasks students with developing a high-speed railway as a vehicle to give them an insight into a career in engineering and the rail sector.
Following the success of the inaugural event, organisers are planning to rollout a number of regional heats this year, which will see the programme grow to around 500 students aged between 16 and 19 years-old.
Winners will progress to a national final in July, which will be held at the National College for High Speed Rail.
Regional heat winners will be offered an opportunity to take an educational ride on one of Network Rail’s measurement trains in the autumn, with a grand prize being arranged for the national final winners.