STEM-dedicated learning facility opened by Network Rail
The new STEM facility has been designed to inspire the younger generation to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and maths sectors.
Credit: Network Rail
Network Rail has officially opened a new ground-breaking STEM-dedicated learning facility at its national centre in Milton Keynes in a bid to help close skills gaps in vital areas across Britain by inspiring the younger generation to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and maths sectors.
Schoolchildren and community groups are able to participate in a range of STEM-based activities, including a virtual reality cube, which provides an immersive 3D experience of travelling in a train cab, moving between traditional and digital technologies.
Chief Executive of Network Rail, Andrew Haines, said: “There is an estimated shortfall of as many as 59,000 engineers coming into the workforce via apprenticeships and higher education. Providing this kind of meaningful engagement with young people to address the issue is absolutely vital for the future of our railway and indeed for Britain. The opening of this new facility is a really exciting step, and we are keen to roll the initiative out further across the country as we try to inspire young people and improve the numbers and diversity of students pursuing careers in STEM fields.”
The new facility will aim to improve engagement with local communities, universities and schools within the Milton Keynes area and beyond, as well as train Network Rail staff on sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for STEM subjects as part of the company’s STEM ambassador programme. This includes allowing Network Rail employees to use their five annual days of volunteer leave to pass on their skills to the next generation through STEM engagement in the lab.
Stephen Metcalfe MP, who has chaired the Science and Technology Select Committee, said: “I am delighted that Network Rail are tackling our national skills shortage head on. The opening of the STEM Lab to help increase the businesses engagement activity has the potential to help engage young people from all backgrounds and show that there is a place for them in the vitally important engineering sector regardless of gender, ethnicity or background. I wish the project well and hope to see ever more people demonstrating that engineering is not only vital to our future success but a rewarding, creative and fulfilling career.”