Budding Brunels visit Crossrail’s Acton Main Line during Tomorrow’s Engineers Week

As part of the Construction Youth Trust’s Budding Brunels Rail programme, 18 students aged 16 to 18 took part in workshops at Crossrail’s Acton Main Line site this week, supported by Network Rail and contractors on the project.

The students, who all study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects at two schools local to the Acton Main Line, had the chance to learn about careers in construction and engineering while finding out about Crossrail and developing their employability skills.

Supported by Carillion, Network Rail started the three-day series of workshops on Wednesday 4 November, with students taking part in role-playing exercises – such as dealing with stakeholder engagement – and construction activities, building chairs from balloons and tape, and making bridges using straws and tape.

To demonstrate the complexity of the design and construction of projects, the students were split into groups, each with a different role, to plan a railway line between two stations. They followed this up with a presentation to the Network Rail and Carillion staff, explaining how they decided upon the route and the costs of their chosen route.

Yesterday, the students were able to walk out on track, escorted by Network Rail and Carillion staff, along the new ‘dive-under’ (rail underpass) at the Acton Main Line site. Constructed by BAM Nuttall, the structure is being built so that trains leaving the Acton freight yard don’t delay passenger trains travelling towards the Acton Main Line and central London.

Principal contractor Carillion provided the personal protection equipment and carried out the inductions before the track tour, which included a visit to the BAM Nuttall site and a chance to see the work undertaken by Carillion along the main lines from Paddington. Students and staff were able to discuss the works and the difficulties faced when working next to an operational railway line.

The students end the week today at the University of West London, learning presentation and interview skills, before five are offered work experience at the Acton Main Line site.

This week is the third programme of Budding Brunels workshops hosted by the Crossrail project this year. There are two more later this month, at Abbeywood and Maidenhead, and a further two in February and March 2016, at Old Oak Common and Shenfield. Additionally, Network Rail has a central Budding Brunels workshop programme, funded by its charities panel and held in a different part of Britain each year – the next one is in Wales, in January.

Sue Hardy, a workplace co-ordination manager for the Crossrail Project, helps to run the Budding Brunels workshops for Network Rail.

We work with a variety of local schools, focusing on areas where we can have the biggest impact, and our engagement with schools and students continues afterwards.

We go into schools whose students have been on the workshops, giving us the chance to talk to a younger audience about what we do, and including the Rail Life safety message.

You can read the original article on the Network Rail website.

Find out more about the Budding Brunels Rail programme here.