National rail contractor, QTS Group, hosted its second ‘Future of Rail’ event at Midland Railway – Butterley in Derbyshire last week.

The event, which took place on 27 September, forms part of the company’s plans to engage with more young people across the UK and promote careers in the rail industry.

More than 300 students from local schools attended on the day, including Holgate Academy in Hucknall, UTC Derby Pride Park, Quarrydale Academy in Sutton-in-Ashfield, David Nieper Academy in Alfreton and Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy in Derby.

Linby-based QTS Group hosted several activities and workshops on the day, including stem activities, machinery demonstrations, careers talks in partnership with Network Rail, and supplier stands from Speedy and GAP.

As a proud and large employer in the region, QTS Group hopes the event will help local pupils discover and better understand the wide range of jobs available in the rail sector.

Alan McLeish, managing director of QTS Group, said: “We’re thrilled at the success of our Future of Rail event in the Midlands. It’s our second event of this nature and we were delighted by the response to it, as we welcomed double the amount of young people than to our inaugural event. We are proud to be leading the way when it comes to engaging with the next generation across the UK to promote the careers available in our industry.

“With more than 48% of railway workers aged 50 or over, the time for action is now. QTS is committed to showcasing the attractive careers on offer to the communities we operate in, while also emphasising the importance of diversity and inclusion across the sector.

“Events like this are hugely important for us and play a key role in tackling the skills shortage, helping to producing a qualified rail workforce fit for the future. We’re grateful to everyone that attended on the day, and hope we will be welcoming some of the pupils we met to our team in the future.”

Jemilah Wagamin, Resourcing Business Partner at Network Rail, added: “It was brilliant to see and share with some many passionate young people about the pathways and possibilities a career in rail can bring. The rail industry is a fantastic environment to be a part of and we at Network Rail want to encourage young people to explore careers in rail and see where it might lead them.”

QTS Group has unveiled several initiatives aimed at encouraging young people to join the industry in recent years, including offering apprenticeships and traineeships, launching a graduate development programme and joining the Government’s Kickstart Scheme.