Network Rail, Avanti West Coast, and Alstom partner with Dicey Tech to inspire students and create a sustainable talent pipeline for the UK rail sector.

July 1, 2021

Network Rail
Avanti West Coast

Dicey Tech is delighted to announce that the Pilot delivery of the Intro 2 Rail programme was a resounding success.

This paves the way to launch a nation-wide programme that aims to raise awareness about the exciting world of rail and inspire young minds through hands-on, industry-linked projects and challenges.

Not a stranger to bold and innovative thinking, Blackburn-based Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High-School (TIBHS) was the first school to test the programme with a cohort of 32 students.

Between them, students successfully built a functional model railway network consisting of a high-speed train, track, signalling, apps, and train stations. These projects enabled young learners to experience a range of careers and challenges faced by rail professionals every day, whilst learning 21st century skills like coding, 3D design, 3D printing, teamwork, communication, and project-management.

The programme culminated with a demo-day, where students presented their projects and discussed their approach with a panel of industry volunteers, who participated virtually. Student teams were then matched with volunteers working in relevant job roles for a networking Q&A session, giving learners an opportunity to gain real world insights as well as giving volunteers an opportunity to develop new skills and share their passion for the industry with the next generation.

The students were enthused to meet the volunteers, which proved effective in bringing to life the careers content in the learning resources. These experiences, if sustained yearly with new student cohorts, will undoubtedly inspire students and have a long term impact on their careers decisions in favour of the rail industry. (Bashira Patel, Director of Learning: Futures @TIBHS)

Intro 2 Rail was created to close the skills gap faced by the rail industry. With over £100bn worth of projects to be delivered over the next decade, the UK Rail sector is undergoing a radical and exciting transformation. But the challenges are radical as well – particularly around inspiring, sourcing, and retaining diverse talent. With the average age of a rail engineer above 50, the industry needs to attract 50,000 new workers over the next decade. This issue is compounded by the fact that rail transportation is experiencing a technological revolution. According to NSAR, the talent shortage leads to a an increase in wages and decrease in productivity by 6%, costing the economy £1.1bn per annum by 2024.

Rail is more important than ever in our fight against climate change and, in order to continue to drive down our carbon emissions and sustain our position as the green long distance travel choice, we need young exciting engineers to join the Railway challenge. We need new innovative thinking and passion to make our trains more efficient, to optimise the track and signal systems, and to deliver a first class customer experience. Intro 2 Rail is a step in the right direction. (Gareth Williams, Head of Sustainability @Avanti West Coast)

Phase II of the programme will see student teams from 10 schools build their own functional model railway networks and compete to design solutions that solve real world challenges.


About Dicey Tech

Dicey Tech is an edtech company on a mission to empower tomorrow’s innovators by making education fun, exciting and linked to real-world challenges.

The company provides STEM kit boxes and a project-based learning platform for schools to deliver STEM clubs, STEM curriculum, and careers insights.

Through their learning platform, Dicey Tech also provides companies with the opportunity to engage with schools, raise awareness about their industry, and connect with students through project-based volunteering opportunities.

About Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast operate the West Coast mainline, linking together towns and major cities to create a vital economic artery for the UK.

We’re on a mission to run a railway that generates prosperity and pride, right across the nation. We’re creating an iconic railway the country can be proud of, with shining customer service to boot.

We have the chance to reimagine railways for a new generation, but only because we’re building on what came before us. We’re bringing people, places and possibility together.

About Alstom

Leading the way to greener and smarter mobility worldwide, Alstom’s ambition is to accompany all transportation stakeholders in meeting tomorrow’s mobility challenges. We strive to provide them with the most efficient and digital mobility systems, while further improving the environmental friendliness of our solutions.

Alstom are proud to deliver and support a diverse range of STEM programmes across the UK enthusing and inspiring the next generation of young talent about the exciting opportunities and careers available in rail.  We are passionate about supporting young people to understand our industry and raise aspirations through the delivery of our programmes.

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain’s railway infrastructure; that’s 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of Britain’s largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country’s train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in Britain and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain’s railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation’s railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced – a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.