Shelby Cound and Abbi Fitter, both aged 17, from Hillsborough College in Sheffield are set for a career on the railways after winning a schools competition to design a new railway carriage.
The girls scooped the top overall prize in the ‘Northern Rail Engineering Challenge.’ Says Shelby Cound, ‘We both had very different ideas but we put them together and the project turned out really well. We actually talked to customers about what they wanted on trains and as a result we’ve included vending machines and separate toilets for men and women but we also used our creative skills and have used a colourful art-deco design.’
The two are now set to become ‘Engineering Apprentices’ for a day. They will have the chance to meet top engineers, discuss their pioneering ideas and learn more about the engineering business at Northern Rail. Their teacher, Sarah Kriel, is delighted. ‘The girls have been outstanding and I’m so proud of them – they’ve even been coming in during the holidays to make sure the project was finished.
‘It’s very refreshing that we’ve had two girls involved and I think this has had an effect on their design as they considered both the functionality and the aesthetics of the train carriage.’
Northern Rail and the Young People’s Enterprise Forum (YPEF) challenged youngsters from across Yorkshire and Humber to show off their engineering skills by designing and building a detailed scale model of a ‘next generation’ carriage, using innovative customer service ideas and up-to-the-minute engineering standards.
Says Stuart Draper, Engineering Director at Northern Rail, ‘Engineering offers a career where young people not only get to use their creativity, but can also shape the future and make a difference to the way that we live our lives. We look forward to working with the winning students, hearing about their ideas in more detail and helping them develop into the experts of tomorrow. If all prospective engineers are like these students, then I’m looking forward to an exciting future for the engineering industry.’