Students from Northampton keep on track with studies at national rail company

Pupils from Northampton design their own self-propelled train with help from national rail company.
Pupils from Northampton design their own self-propelled train with help from national rail company.
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Pupils from Northampton designed their own self-propelled train with help from Siemens of Kings Heath.

Year seven students from Northampton International Academy teamed up with Siemens to give pupils an insight into rail engineering and train maintenance, as part of European Vocational Skills Week.

The trip, which went ahead last week, included a tour of the depot, an exploration of a train in virtual reality, and the opportunity to design and build their own self-propelled train.

Northampton International Academy’s assistant principal and science lead Rochelle Aphale: “The trip was a huge success and gave our pupils a real taste of what it would be like to work in the rail industry.

“Highlights included learning how to ‘virtually’ operate a train, and a treasure hunt around the training workshop. Not all pupils want to continue academic studies into the sixth form and it is refreshing for them to know that when they turn sixteen there are exciting, local apprenticeship opportunities like this available to them.”

Siemens Kings Heath Train care facility is a one of the U.K’s leading maintenance depots and alongside the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) both centres work closely with the school to offer pupils a direct route into vocational training.

Head of Apprenticeship Delivery, Dan Walker, said: “It was a pleasure to host a group of such well-behaved, enthusiastic and bright young people. Co-funded by the Government and Siemens, the National Training Academy here at Kings Heath is a cutting edge training facility which has been specifically set up to address the growing skills gap in the UK’s rail industry.

“Our aim is to attract, develop and retain the next generation of skilled rail engineers and judging by our group of students today, we already have some future rail engineers in our midst.”