This March, Bondholder The Derby Conference Centre played host to iRail, a free showcase event designed to educate students from across the region, about the great heritage of the rail industry in the city of Derby, and the technological and engineering opportunities available within rail.
The Derby Conference Centre has a long history with rail as it was a dedicated training facility for the rail industry. Designed by William H Hamlyn, the principal architect of the London Midland & Scottish Railway, it was opened in 1938 and was the first residential rail training centre in the UK, capable of housing up to 50 railway operatives and signallers at a time.
As part of the event, with the aim of bringing regional schools together, the schools all visited different rail company’s sites, including 3 Bondholders Bombardier, East Midlands Trains and Resonate. Then on the day, students were invited to take part in a competition to provide the best solution to a railway engineering problem. The competition taught students to work together in teams, to research answers together and to gain confidence when networking with the various organisations to discover the best solution to their set challenge.
The event was also an opportunity for rail companies such as Network rail, Bombardier, Women in Rail and Resonate to exhibit and network with each other, as well as the students, and to give advice to the students during the competition.
iRail, Innovative Rail, is a successful initiative from Learn by Design who seek to engage students with science and technology in practical ways. At iRail they demonstrated the importance of infrastructure within modern Britain and the many career opportunities available to them in engineering and specifically within the rail industry.
Reflecting upon the success of the event, Rebecca Adams, The Derby Conference Centre’s Sales and Marketing Executive, said:
“I think it is vitally important that Derby, a city which was built upon the success of engineering and the growth of the rail industry, continues to invest in and to inspire its young people. It is crucial that the industries of today develop and this can only be done by engaging with the engineers of tomorrow. The feedback we received from the event has been fantastic! We at The Derby Conference Centre are proud to host this event, in this building, to celebrate the continued success of the rail industry and its continued contribution to the local economy.”