STEM Ambassadors: keeping Rail Week on track
With a huge shortage of young people seeing engineering as a career choice for them, Network Rail is passionate about promoting it as something that will open a world of possibility for them in the future.
In my role as Project Leader at Network Rail, I am fortunate enough to be involved in the Government-led ‘Year of Engineering’ campaign.
This has sparked enthusiasm internally and externally, as colleagues are keen to inspire the next generation of engineers. At Network Rail, all employees have five volunteer leave days a year and these can be used to support early engagement activities.
Our partnership with STEM Learning has been great as, not only does it mean employees can become trained STEM Ambassadors and DBS checked, it also provides a link to the schools and colleges who also want to get involved.
I became a STEM Ambassador back in May 2018 and find organising and taking part in different early engagement activities rewarding and a lot of fun.
This summer saw our first ‘STEM holiday club’. Our local STEM Ambassador Hub helped to promote this to schools in the area and the response was fantastic. It was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by both the volunteers on the day and the children who attended.
This week, our STEM Ambassadors at Network Rail are busy with Rail Week events across the country, an initiative to address the skills shortage more specifically in the rail industry.
We have partnered with Mini Professors who engage with children as young as two years old (it’s never too early for early engagement!). Lessons for little engineers across Britain will teach children about the railway, bridges and tunnels.
I will be attending an ‘Engineering Unlocked’ event at Kings Cross where we will join with rail industry partners to spread the word to influencers on how they can engage their children in STEM and the benefits this will have long-term.
I am also hosting a local event at our head office in Milton Keynes where 15 students will join us for a tour of the building and will take part in STEM-related activities. This will be supported by other colleagues who have recently trained as STEM Ambassadors.
It doesn’t stop there as I will be taking my son and daughter to a local Rail week event hosted by Siemens and NTAR (National Training Academy for Rail).
I would recommend to anyone becoming involved in early engagement. I do not have a STEM background but from working in a STEM-related industry, I can see there is a lot of work that needs to be done to attract future talent.