Network Rail and The Talent Foundry celebrate completion of programme to inspire young people to pursue careers in rail: Lord Grey Academy students at The Quadrant

Tuesday 11 Jan 2022

Network Rail and The Talent Foundry celebrate completion of programme to inspire young people to pursue careers in rail

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Network Rail and The Talent Foundry have completed the initial pilot scheme of the Track to the Future programme, which aims to inspire young people to consider a career in the rail sector.


Four schools took part in the pilot programme: Lord Grey Academy (Bletchley), The Adeyfield Academy (Hemel Hempstead), King Edwards VI Handsworth Wood Girls' Academy (Birmingham), and Harborne Academy (Birmingham) with 80 students participating in total.

Students taking part in the Track to the Future programme gain a unique insight into the work of Network Rail, focusing on either programme management or the technological side of the industry.  Mentors from Network Rail support students through four highly interactive and engaging sessions exploring the rail industry. 21 Network Rail members of staff donated 116 hours of volunteering to support the sessions.

Students develop key transferable skills such as innovation and creativity, whilst also learning about key competencies such as accountability, collaboration, and responding to challenging situations.  Where possible, students had two of their sessions at Network Rail’s Quadrant office in Milton Keynes or Baskerville House in Birmingham, to gain a unique insight into the workplace in action. 

Lydia Fairman, Lead Capability and Development Manager from Network Rail said:

“We think the pilot Track to the Future Programme was a great success and it was brilliant to receive such positive feedback from those who took part.  The volunteers who worked on the programme were really excited to share their expertise and passion for the sector with the participating students.”

The Talent Foundry is an independent education charity whose mission is to increase social mobility by helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds discover what they are amazing at, develop valuable new employment skills and take the first step into the world of work.

Cate Smith, Head of Programmes at The Talent Foundry said:

“Everyone at The Talent Foundry was delighted to work with Network Rail on the pilot Track to the Future Programme.  We know Network Rail are as passionate as we are about ensuring disadvantaged young people can access a range of opportunities to get them thinking about their future.  I hope this programme inspired lots of students to consider a career in the rail sector.”


Notes to Editors

Quotes from participating students:

  • “I feel this programme has really made me consider what I want to do in the future and actually realise there is a need for women from ethnic backgrounds to be represented at the top level of business.”
  • “We were shown the executive room, where the directors would sit and discuss the projects and outcomes. One of the students said, ‘Save me a seat I’ll be back here later on.’”
  • “I rated the workshop as excellent because I learned and perfected a lot of skills that will help me in the future such as an increase in my confidence to speak in front of an audience.”
  • “Now that I have completed the programme, I see Network Rail as a very open environment that is diverse in terms of people and work.”

Quotes from Network Rail volunteers:

  • “A brilliant use of a morning. An opportunity to remember why we work here and what is really important.”
  • “The Talent Foundry facilitator and Network Rail planning staff made this a thoroughly professional and very rewarding session.”
  • “Fantastic idea for an event and a great opportunity for the teenagers to be exposed to Project Management as a career, explore a professional office and to gain relevant experience. Really rewarding speaking to the teens and to see so many of them interested in Project Management as a career.”
  • “Keep up the good work! I am a big fan of what TTF are doing and we have needed this within our workplace for some time.”

More information about The Talent Foundry

  •       The Talent Foundry is an independent education charity offering a range of fully funded opportunities to schools and colleges across the United Kingdom.
  •       They have 1,600 schools in their network and 600,000 students have benefitted from their programmes.
  •       If schools wish to find out if they are eligible for The Talent Foundry’s programmes, they can email:
  •       The charity’s aim is to increase social mobility by helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds discover what they are amazing at, develop valuable new employment skills and take that first step into the world of work.
  •       In the 2020/21 Academic Year The Talent Foundry has worked with 54,378 students and run 655 workshops, despite having to rethink how to deliver their programmes in light of the pandemic.  The companies and organisations they develop and deliver programmes for volunteered a massive 1175 hours of their time to help disadvantaged children, supporting workshops virtually due to the restrictions.

More information about Network Rail

  • Network Rail was named as one of the top 50 employers for women in Britain by The Times in 2021.
  • On World Car Free Day (22 September), the rail industry launched the We Mean Green campaign to encourage more people and businesses to choose greener trains over congested roads.  With the United Nations climate summit, COP26, starting on the 1st of November in Glasgow, you'll see the iconic British Rail double arrow logo go green.  This comes as rail companies aim to bring home the message of how getting you and goods onto trains and off roads will help in the fight against climate change.
  • The Quadrant - just five minutes walk from Milton Keynes Central - has 37,000 square metres of space and houses Network Rail’s headquarters. The building was constructed in 2012 and has a striking atrium with over-bridges, along with several cafeteria areas and a dine-in restaurant.  

Contact information

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Network Rail press office - James Crook
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Network Rail
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