On Tuesday 27 February, TeenTech hosted one of their innovation days at Newcastle College Rail Academy, in partnership with Cross Country Trains and TVCRP (Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership). The aim of the day was to help young people understand the opportunities within science, technology and engineering industries and also raise awareness about women in STEM and widening participation.
The lively, focused, age appropriate initiative helps young people 8-18 understand their potential and raise their aspirations. Programmes delivered by Teen Tech are carefully planned to engage teachers and parents as they are the main influencers in career decisions. They support companies, colleges and universities, providing them with strategies of engagement and ways to develop approaches which work well with young people.
Maggie Philbin, CEO and co-founder started off the day with an introduction to Teen Tech, and careers within the rail industry, focusing on diversity and transferable skills. Speakers during the day included Fiona Forsythe from TVCRP, Cross Country Trains’s Stakeholder Liaison Manager Alex Bray, Inspector Brian Buddo from BTP and guests from Northern Rail. They all shared inspiring stories of how they started their rail industry careers.
Students from Prudhoe Community High School and Newminster Middle School were set challenges throughout the day to come up with innovative ideas to introduce into the rail industry. The ideas ranged from VR apps to help people navigate stations that they are unfamiliar with to creating more accessible trains and help people with mental illnesses as well as physical disabilities.
In a more relaxed ‘Dragons Den’ style environment the final ideas were then presented to our panel, Ian Stevens from Newcastle College, Alex Bray from Cross Country Trains and Fiona Forsyth from TVCRP. The feedback was positive and it is now up to the students and their teachers to keep the ideas progressing forward. The teen tech team will be checking in with them to see how they are getting on over the coming months and offer support if needed.
The students also had a go at putting fabricated track together as part of the Rail Academy’s infinity rail project, this task gave the students experience of working with basic hand tools, within our specialist workshop. They did encounter problems to solve along the way, although our own Rail Academy students were on hand to support and give advice.
Overall a very successful day and something that we aim to host on a regular basis with our partners, watch this space
For more information on Teen Tech and their awards please visit teentech.com
*Photo courtesy of Cross Country Trains