All posts by Elaine Clark

John Flamsteed Community School iRail 2016 Champions

On Tuesday 15th March the 7th iRail STEM Challenge took place at the iPro stadium, home to Derby County Football Club (DCFC).

RFEM are delighted to confirm that the winners of iRail 2016 are John Flamsteed Community School. Pictured above are the winning team with Sam Rush, CEO of Derby County, John Evans CEO of National College for High Speed Rail and May-Ann Lew, YRP National STEM Ambassador Co-ordinator.

The day began with a Business Breakfast which saw around 60 local businesses hear from the Young Rail Professionals (YRP), Derby City initiative e4e and an apprentice from Bombardier. There was then opportunity to network and to visit the exhibitors that would be supporting iRail during the day.

The pupils and teachers began their day with a visit to the Bombardier site where they were able to pick up some ideas that would help them with the STEM challenge later in the day. School teams were then set one of two challenges and had the rest of the morning and afternoon to develop their ideas and solutions before presenting their thoughts to the judging panels. The two winners of the individual challenges then went ‘head to head’ for the overall title of iRail Champions.

Bemrose  School came a worthy second with their ideas for improving train testing using simulation and virtual reality, but John Flamsteed Community School took the coveted trophy with their suggestions for improved carriage design including retracting seats, long and short stay carriages and lightweight materials and engines.

Pupils on the winning teams all received cinema vouchers and the overall winners (including the teacher) received 2 tickets each for a forthcoming game at the iPro, courtesy of DCFC. For the first time the schools won cash prizes of £250 for the runner up and £500 for the winning school to spend on equipment to support STEM teaching.

The day concluded with the IMechE sponsored distinguished lecture given by John Evans the CEO of the new National College for High Speed Rail and a YRP network event.

We would like to thank all those who made iRail 2016 such a success including; DCFC, all our exhibitors and sponsors and all the YRP volunteers who worked with the teams on the day.

Developing a co-ordinated approach to promoting the industry in schools, colleges and universities is a key strand of RFEM’s people and skills agenda. First and foremost this is about ensuring that local companies have access to future talent by inspiring young people to consider rail making it a ‘career of choice’.

Pupils taking part in iRail always enthuse about the event. The following quote is from one of yesterday’s participants:

“The day out at the iRail event was a fantastic opportunity, not only to learn about the rail industry, but also to discover career paths in STEM, and see the diversity of people’s jobs in engineering. It inspired me to look at the industry in a different way. My team had a fantastic day, coming a close second in the competition in our section”. Rachel Gould, 14, Friesland School Sandiacre

Rail Supply Growth Fund Launched!

The Rail Supply Growth Fund is an innovative and flexible loan fund which has been developed by Finance Birmingham in conjunction with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The Fund of £20m is an initial level of funding which aims to help remove barriers to entry and accelerate routes to market for businesses helping them to maximise commercial opportunities resulting from the modernisation of the rail network including HS2. Substantial additional private sector funding has potentially been identified that would support a much larger Fund in the future as a follow on from this initial £20m Fund.

Available to all companies in England it is loan funding, not a grant, with a minimum value of £0.5m and a maximum of £2m. Open to individual or consortia of companies typically up to 50% funding is available. For full details of how to apply click here



Contact Rail Forum East Midlands for details about joining.