Fast Trackers — Aimhigher West Midlands
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Ever wondered what it takes to design and build a railway?

 

Our learners from South and City College, Halesowen College and Cadbury Sixth Form College found out on the Fast Trackers programme this May. We had three fantastic teams of learners take part and a very close competition for the win!

 

The regional Fast Trackers programme comes in three parts with a university visit, an employer visit and a regional final challenge day:

 

Day 1 – A visit to the University of Birmingham

Engaging lectures, Q&A with graduates and apprentices and a taster of the UoB Engineering Department was the perfect way to kick off the Fast Trackers programme.

 

Learners got to have a go at driving a train simulator

 

Day 2 – A visit to Alstom and Birmingham New Street Station

With the introductions out of the way, the teams got a chance to quiz the staff working at Birmingham New Street and Alstom about what it takes to design, build and maintain a railway.

 

Not a bad view from the roof of Grand Central above Birmingham New Street

 

Fun Fact: Did you know that over 1000 trains arrive and depart from Birmingham New Street every day!

 

Day 3 – The Regional Final Challenge Day

We took a trip to Keele University for the Regional Final. Teams were challenged with choosing a rail route from London to Birmingham and re-designing London Euston Station.

 

Group presentations to showcase each team’s designs and budgets

 

It was great to see the hard work and focus from our young people and we ended the day with three fantastic group presentations.

The teams came up with some really innovative design proposals including the use of Pavegen flooirng to charge electricity for the station and rooftop station gardens to provide a calm space in busy London.

Senior judges from Network Rail and Mott MacDonald were very impressed with the quality of the work and, after much deliberation, awarded South and City College the winning team. We also had individual winners from Halesowen College and Cadbury Sixth Form College for the Rising Star Award, Inclusion Champion and Best Team Player.

The National Final is due to take place this July with the winning teams from all over the UK competing. Good luck to our Birmingham learners!