From education to employment

Students on track to achieve social mobility

Students participating

New student training programme from the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) 
and The Talent Foundry

The social mobility charity The Talent Foundry and the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) have launched an exciting new ‘Track to the Future’ programme to inspire young people to begin a career in rail while simultaneously developing key transferable project management skills to aid future career paths.

Young people studying within the operating areas of RSSB-member train companies – including Northern Trains, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), East Midlands Railway (EMR), Alstom Transport and Arriva Rail London – will have access to a bespoke employability initiative to develop their project management skills with support from rail industry volunteers.

Year 12 students from Manchester College completed the programme last month, having visited Newton Heath Depot to learn more about how trains work and listen to inspiring personal career stories from Northern Trains staff. The volunteers shared practical advice about starting a career in rail – a practical and rewarding option for school-leavers. Students from Kirk Hallam Community Academy in Derbyshire also completed the programme, in partnership with EMR, gaining real-world insights into career opportunities on offer.

The four-part programme saw students attending the workplace and being mentored by professionals from across the rail industry. Students developed practical skills in project management, teamwork, problem solving and communication through this hands-on project that ended with final presentations – the best of which will be invited to present their ideas at RSSB’s head office in London.

Further programmes are taking place this year with Arriva Rail London and Alstom Transport in London, and GTR in the Southeast of England.

The Talent Foundry works with industry partners to deliver wide-ranging employability skills programmes for schools to support their students’ social mobility. The fully-funded programmes empower young people from underserved backgrounds to build skills and pursue career paths that they may have felt were not available to them.

Together, The Talent Foundry and RSSB are working industry-wide to build crucial skills for a sustainable green economy. By creating practical pathways into work for young people and developing a sustainable future-proofed workforce, they aim to improve young people’s lives.

This programme is the first of its kind for RSSB, which launched the Sustainable Rail Blueprint in November 2023 – a long-term industry-wide framework for realising sustainable rail.

Covering a wide range of sustainability issues, from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or conserving biodiversity, to promoting social inclusion and diversity, the Blueprint covers 11 key topics and offers practical steps and strategies for towards tangible progress. Among these topics, ‘Maximising Social Value,’ which looks at taking active steps to reduce inequalities and support social mobility, and ‘Careers, Economy and Sustainable Growth,’ with the strategic aim to establish rail as an industry of choice for young people.

Jenni Anderson, Chief Executive at The Talent Foundry said:

“We are thrilled to launch our new Track to the Future programme, and to celebrate our partnership with RSSB. Together, we can show students across the UK that rail is a realistic and genuinely exciting career prospect. We want to make sure all young people have equal opportunities, are supported to develop essential skills and can see themselves in these roles.”

Tom Hall, Social Sustainability Principal at RSSB said:

“Track to the Future is a unique opportunity for young people to learn about the rail industry and its contribution to a greener and more inclusive society. We believe that by engaging young people in this programme, we can foster a culture of innovation and diversity in the rail sector. This programme is a great example of how we can work together with The Talent Foundry and other industry partners to engage young people from diverse backgrounds and regions in the rail industry.”

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