Transport Minister Tariq Ahmad visits Budding Brunels Rail

For the second time in a month, we were delighted to welcome another minister to visit one of our projects. Transport Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad was kind enough to visit one of our Budding Brunels Rail courses last week. Students from from The Sweyne Park School, Shenfield High School and Seven Kings High School visited Crossrail development sites at Shenfield Station and Chadwell Heath and then the Crossrail Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in Ilford to learn about professional careers within the rail industry. Mr Tariq spoke to the students and our volunteers about what they had experienced during the 3-day course; we are so glad that we have his support in raising awareness of careers in construction and rail amongst young people.

During the 3-day course the students donned protective and high-visibility clothing for a supervised tour of Network Rail sites at Shenfield Station and Chadwell Heath, where the line is being upgraded as part of the Crossrail programme. They observed work adjacent to the railway track, the vital importance of health and safety in the industry and the different types of materials and equipment used in engineering.

At the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) in Ilford for follow-on activities, the students took part in team exercises to reinforce what they learned on the site visits. The location was chosen to give them a taste of what life is like for engineers and other professionals working in this training environment.

They also toured the Tunneling Academy. TUCA is a purpose-built training facility for key skills in tunnel excavation, underground construction and infrastructure. By building and establishing TUCA, Crossrail is contributing to the development of new qualifications and Health and Safety standards across the industry. TUCA will remain after Crossrail is delivered in 2018, as a specialist training centre for other tunneling projects.

Students chatted with industry experts and delivered presentations in groups and had them critically assessed by a panel. They reviewed their work in an enlivened presentation and gained tips on format, presentation and personal style. Day 3 of the course ended with the students being interviewed by Network Rail and Costain staff for one of five, five day work placements with Network Rail and Costain to take place during a school holiday period. 

Sue Hardy from Network Rail commented: "We are delighted to support Budding Brunels by giving young people a unique glimpse into the Crossrail Programme – the biggest infrastructure project in Europe. Being  close to a mock-up of the tunnelling and hearing engineers talking about this fascinating project will hopefully have whetted their appetites about engineering as a potential career."

Find out more about Budding Brunels here.