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Students’ engineering skills put to the test by Network Rail​​​​​​​

Year 13 engineering students recently took part in a two-hour Network Rail workshop, run by James Merry from My Kinda Future.

Students were tasked with building a bridge out of basic materials including paper clips, staples, string and paper. The bridges had to have an unsupported span of 60cm in length, and at the end of the exercise it had to support the weight of a stapler, whilst remaining 20cm above the table surface.

The next step of the challenge was a written exercise. Students were set a problem by Network Rail based on icy tracks and they had to brainstorm ideas and come up with a solution to the problem.

The students’ solutions, along with photographs of the bridges, were sent to Network Rail following the workshop. Based on this, they will decide which students they wish to invite to a meeting to discuss potential apprenticeship opportunities.

Andrew Thacker, UTC Reading Engineering Teacher, commented: “This was a highly valuable exercise for our engineering students, giving them insight into how their engineering skills can be applied to real world situations. It has opened some of their eyes to the option of doing an apprenticeship as an alternative to going to university, which would be a fantastic route for some of them to go down when they leave UTC Reading.”

  • Active Learning
  • Microsoft
  • Cisco
  • University of Reading
  • Network Rail
  • Peter Brett