Y8s National Rail Week Activities @MOSI

The 27th July saw the opening of National Rail week, an in initiative aimed to raise awareness of the number of careers available in the Rail Industry. National there is a shortage of engineers in the UK and the Rail industry need to actively promote possible career opportunities to young people. The UK Skills Shortage List is a list of occupations produced annually by the government that need to be fill in the UK. This list makes an interesting read! (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/423800/shortage_occupation_list_april_2015.pdf).

Five Year 8 students (Charlie Horne, Joel Renjith, Katie Roberts, Fabian Spiedel-Johnson and Tommy Walker-Mackay) represented the school at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester on Monday 27th July as part of the National Rail Week Activities. The event was organised by STEMNET and the Young Rail Professional Engineers from the construction company Mott McDonald. Ten Schools sent teams to compete in a STEM challenge. The day begin with students finding out about the work of Mott McDonald and the range of diverse career pathways available to them. They learnt how 3, 4 and 5-D designing and 3-D printers are being used in the design, planning and engineering stages of rail network construction. They also found out how gaming technology is being used to augment a virtual environment where the designers can ‘walk’ through their designs and enable engineers to visualise potential problems they would have to solve. Students were then challenged to design a safe, strong, aesthetically attractive, low cost bridge and a train that was able to carry cargo and travel 10 meters. They were required to work with students from another school and were assessed on their team working skills as well on the design.

During the afternoon the students also had the chance race round the museum in search of the rail engineers in order to discuss the work that they do. Interestingly the rail industry still use imperial measurements, for example rail tracks are 6 feet in length and there are 22 chains in a mile!

Our students worked with students from the Deanery High School in Wigan and were awarded the top prize for both the train and bridge design and construction; as well as Charlie Horne being presented with the prize for best leadership skills. Well done to all those involved.

We would like to express our gratitude to the 14 Young Professional Rail engineers who devoted their time to develop the activities, Mott MacDonald for releasing so many engineers to work with the students and to MOSI for allowing the use of their facilities.

Did you know?

  1. How much money did Engineering bring into the UK last year?
  2. How many jobs in the UK are supported by engineering?
  3. On average how much is the starting salary of a graduate engineer?
  4. How many more engineers do we need in the UK every year until 2022 just to fill the jobs we currently have (ie people retiring)?


  1. £446 billion
  2. 14.5 million jobs (55% of all jobs in the UK)
  3. £27,079 (1/5th higher than other graduates)
  4. 182,000! And this does not take in to account any growth in manufacturing that may occur.