Budding Brunels from Birmingham given access to major construction project thanks to Network Rail

Network Rail and Construction Youth Trust team-up to offer Birmingham students a career boost.


Construction Youth Trust in partnership with Network Rail, have provided an un-paralleled insight into the redevelopment project at Birmingham’s New Street Station.  Thirty students from local schools had the opportunity to take part in a three-day Open College Network accredited Budding Brunels course which saw over 36 volunteers from Network Rail providing information, advice and guidance to students during the project and in post project work placements.  


The young people spent time at the University of Birmingham’s Engineering department enjoying interactive career presentations, including areas such as Engineering, Surveying and Health and Safety, by an array of industry professionals from Network Rail. 


Details of the required skills and qualifications for a range of diverse careers within the built environment were outlined to help students plan their further education or career options.


On the second day of the project the students visited the site of the £600m Birmingham New Street redevelopment and were given guided tours by Mace, lead contractor on the site.  The tours offered a detailed insight into the construction and scale of the project and provided further background to the careers available within the industry.


The final day of the course was spent at Network Rail’s flagship training centre, Westwood where students were interviewed by representatives from Network Rail, with 5 students selected to participate in on-site work experience during the half term holidays which included visits to major Network Rail centres in Manchester and Walsall. 


Budding Brunels is organised by Construction Youth Trust and aims to inform and inspire young students from disadvantaged backgrounds about higher education and career options within the construction industry.


Christine Townley, Executive Director at Construction Youth Trust said: “We are delighted to work with Network Rail for the first time in offering this unique experience to students in need of additional careers support. By working with leading companies and professionals from the built environment, our programme aims to increase participants’ chances of achieving social mobility and help students to make the right choices at a key point in their academic and personal development.”


Cindy Wedderburn, Systems Integration Manager, at Network Rail commented: “The Budding Brunels project offered Network Rail a great opportunity to support young students to learn new skills, increase their awareness of the roles in construction and gain an appreciation of what the rail industry has to offer. Network Rail employees also benefitted from getting involved in volunteering on the project. We received some great feedback from all participants, students and volunteers alike, who were enthusiastic, energetic and excited by the extremely positive experience they shared.


Abdulladif Nou Ges, 17, from Small Heath School, commented:


‘I gained insight into the industry, types of professions involved and got a daily profile of the types of work I may need to carry out if I was a Network Rail employee. I managed to get a very good placement with one of the biggest companies in the UK. University admissions and the job market are extremely competitive so this unique experience will help give me an edge. Thank you very much to everyone involved at Network Rail and Construction Youth Trust for making this a very memorable and wonderful experience.'