Around 330 students from secondary schools and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) attended an Apprenticeships Day to mark this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.
The event at the College’s Enfield Centre showcased engineering apprenticeship opportunities and featured top employers from the rail industry including Siemens, Bombardier, Hitachi and Virgin Trains, as well as representatives from the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR).
Apprenticeships are actual paid jobs that enable you to earn while you learn the technical skills needed for your career.
Students from Enfield secondary schools Bishops Stopford, Oasis Hadley, Kingsmead, Aylward Academy, Chace Community attended along with others from Joseph Clarke in Waltham Forest.
Groups of excited young people from 14 to 19 listened with interest as the employers described the many roles open to them in rail engineering and the excellent rates of pay.
Barry Connelly, Strategic Adviser for Engineering Development at CONEL, said “It has never been a better time for a young person to enter the rail engineering sector as an apprentice and days like today are our way of getting the message out there.”
Following the talks and videos about the fantastic careers on offer, the students had the opportunity to view demonstrations of lathes and cutting equipment.
The base of a train carriage, known as a bogie, and pantograph, which connects the roof of a train to overhead lines, were on display along with a model railway.
Visitors were also able to take part in experiments to test the hardness of a wide range of materials, and wear virtual reality headsets to learn how to drive a train.
Engineering student Diandra Marshall-Bruce, 18, said: “The event was really interesting. I had no idea there were so many opportunities open to me.
"My favourite aspects of engineering are mechanical and electrical, and I would love the opportunity to work with Siemens taking a train apart and putting it back together again.”
Jody McManus, 19, Musaab Samadi, 18, and Samer Adem, 20, who are all studying Engineering Level 3 at CONEL, were keen to find out more about degree apprenticeships as they want to continue studying mechanical engineering while still being paid.
Asif Khan, Head of School for Engineering, said: “It’s been a very enjoyable day and as well as providing access to such reputable companies for our own students, we were also able to make the events available to local school students.”