Hitachi Rail is launching a brand new educational programme with Primary Engineer that will see 2,700 5 to 11 year olds learn about engineering with the help of experts in the field.
The announcement came during Rail Week (8-14 Oct) and the initiative is part of the Year of Engineering campaign. It aims to help tackle a serious shortage of engineers in the UK. On current projections, there will be a gap of 55,000 engineers and skilled workers by 2020, according to the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce, with not enough qualified people to deliver key national projects like HS2, Heathrow expansion and Crossrail 2.
The scheme will eventually see 50 schools from Ashford, Doncaster, Bristol, Newton Aycliffe and West London partner with engineers from Hitachi’s nearby train depots.
This week the teachers in the first four locations are receiving their training and this will be followed by a further session at Hitachi’s train manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, where new fleets of trains are being delivered for passengers across the country.
This is the first time Primary Engineer has partnered with a train manufacturer to develop one of its school programmes.
The project supports practical STEM learning (science, technology, engineering and maths) and offers primary pupils an invaluable opportunity to work directly with Hitachi engineers in the classroom.
There is also a competitive element to spark the children’s engineering ingenuity and creativity.
Hitachi Rail managing director, Karen Boswell, said: “We are absolutely committed to developing UK skills in order to grow our business and support the government’s Industrial Strategy.
“To be able to give thousands of young people a chance to be inspired by the pioneering work we do at our factory and depots across the country is fantastic. STEM education is critically important and I’m thrilled Hitachi Rail is the first train builder to join in a partnership with Primary Engineer to support the great work they do in our schools.”