Lord Ahmad met with students at Ursuline High School and his former school, Rutlish School on 26 February 2016. While at the schools, the minister took part in Inspiring the Future speed-networking events, organised by national education charity Education and Employers. This gave students a chance to meet volunteers from across the transport sector, including the minister, and learn about the kind of roles the industry has to offer and the difference good transport makes to people’s lives.
Lord Ahmad also visited Hollymount Primary School, where volunteers took part in a game of “What’s my line?”. This was facilitated by charity Education and Employers’ free Primary Futures programme, during which pupils had to guess what jobs each volunteer did. The aim of the game was to tackle gender stereotypes and show that there are no limits to ambition in the transport sector.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said:
Through our record investment in transport, we are creating thousands of high quality careers across the country, many of which are cutting edge, highly technical and require Britain’s best minds.
I really hope that these events will encourage children and young people here in Wimbledon to consider careers in this exciting and growing industry.
Research carried out for Network Rail has shown that girls as young as seven have an ‘unconscious bias’ against engineering and that, by age 14, many have switched off from it as a career option altogether.
A key recommendation of the government’s Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy, launched in January 2016, is to increase the number of women working in the transport sector. The strategy set a stretching target to increase the number of new female entrants to engineering and technical apprenticeships in the transport sector, the aim being that this should be in line with the proportion of women in work by 2030.
Philippa Jackson, Headteacher at Hollymount Primary School, said:
We held our own enterprise week just before half-term so we are delighted to be hosting this Primary Futures event as the aims of the organisation very much support the Hollymount vision: ‘to inspire confident learners who will thrive in a changing world’. We know that it’s vital to prepare children for the future, equipping them with the skills, experience and information to make informed choices about their next stages of education and possible future careers. Having ‘real’ people in school from the world of work helps our pupils to make meaningful, real-life links to their own learning and provides role models and inspiration to broaden their horizons”.
Sharon Moody, Work-related Learning Coordinator/Head of MFL at Rutlish School, said:
Through Inspiring the Future type events where students can meet professionals face to face, their horizons are opened up and they can imagine an exciting array of career paths. It helps them to find greater meaning and relevance in their studies and to connect what they are learning to their futures out in the world. Exposure to possibilities and different perspectives is at the heart of young people’s education, empowering them to have bright and meaningful futures.