TfL & Cleshar encourage young people to tackle the challenges facing the transport industry
4 October 2016 • Author(s): Transport for London (TfL)
Transport for London (TfL) has launched a new schools challenge to help encourage more young people across the UK to consider transport as a future career option.
Innovate TfL, in association with Cleshar, is a project-based competition open to Year 12 and Year 13 students at school, college or as part of a youth organisation. They are presented with the real life ‘Innovation Challenges’ facing TfL and its customers, which they then come up with solutions for.
The competition, which requires students to produce a design, a five minute presentation and a 30 second advert, helps participants to develop a range of skills, for example, public speaking and project management, that will be useful for their future careers. The process requires students to be assigned positions and responsibilities that reflect the business world, for example, project manager, technology and engineering lead, and finance and revenue. These allow young people to learn about both the diverse career opportunities available to them in the transport industry and the practical applications of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.
Collaboration between transport organisations and supply chain partners to tackle skills challenge
Sixteen schools, colleges and youth groups have already signed up to take part in this year’s competition, more than double the number of institutions that took part last time. Once registered, there are in-school introduction days that volunteers from TfL and Cleshar, nicknamed ‘Innovators’, can attend to inspire participants about possible solutions using their own experiences. Last year, students from Uxbridge College won the challenge with their idea for a travel planning app with all information clearly laid out from doorstep to destination. They were closely followed by Cardinal Pole School and their concertina bus concept, which enabled a bus to adjust its length depending on the number of customers.
TfL’s partnership with Cleshar illustrates how transport organisations and their supply chain partners can collaborate to tackle the skills challenge facing the industry.
Neera Kukadia, a Mechanical Engineering Graduate Trainee at TfL, said: “I believe that these types of initiatives are incredibly important because they encourage young people to realise that studying STEM subjects can offer a range of career opportunities – you don’t have to become a doctor or a particle physicist!
“Coming from a male-dominated part of the transport industry, I think it’s important that students are not put off studying subjects like engineering because of stereotypes. I’m hoping that this competition will encourage more female and BAME students to consider a career in transport. I look forward to seeing all the creative ideas being put forward by students.”
Tricia O’Neill, Chief Executive Officer of Cleshar, said: “One of the major challenges facing our industry today is dealing with the skills shortage. We are committed to investing in the future by providing this, and the next generation, the academic and manual skills and competencies required to work and succeed in the rail industry. Teaming up with TfL on the 2015/16 Schools challenge was a fantastic experience and a great opportunity to engage with young people and to introduce them to an industry that we are passionate about. We are excited to partner with TfL on this year’s event and look forward to all the innovative ideas presented by this year’s candidates to further develop the services we provide and the transport industry as a whole.”