Higher Horizons+ launches new ‘Fast Trackers’ project

Higher Horizons+, part of the aspiration-raising National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) that operates across Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire, is launching an ambitious new project as part of NCOP’s nationwide week of action.

Higher Horizons+ encourages young people from underrepresented groups in higher education to achieve their potential by enrolling on university courses. The Higher Horizons+ team, which has its central hub at Keele University, is supporting the launch of a new NCOP project: Fast Trackers, on 6th June at the University of Liverpool.

The Fast Trackers project will enable 140 young people from across Staffordshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire who are studying STEM subjects, to visit employers and educational institutions to help inspire their education at a higher level. The project is part funded by NCOP branches Higher Horizons+, FutureU and Greater Manchester Higher, along with Network Rail and Mott MacDonald.

The 16 and 17-year-old students will also travel to London for a three-day trip to visit organisations including the Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Mechanical Engineers and follow up that trip to employer visits including ALSTOM, Unipart Rail and Siemens to discover what graduate employment looks like in the field. The students will also have behind the scenes access to the new London Bridge Station.

The students will take part in a team-based project to be held at University College London, designed by global engineering, management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald and Network Rail, the owner and operator of Britain’s railway infrastructure. The teams will design a new London railway station for a high speed rail line, working with 40 engineers from across Network Rail and Mott MacDonald.

The students’ work, which will be accredited by the Engineering Development Trust, will be presented to senior engineering leaders and a panel of experts, including an MP and special guests, with a range of prizes donated by various supporters. The participants will then gain an Industrial Cadets Gold Awards.

Ant Sutcliffe, Head of the Higher Horizons+ network, said: “Fast Trackers is a unique project in the world of outreach. Bringing tomorrow's world of work in line with college and university courses of today, the young people from across our region will gain an incredible insight into what careers they may wish to choose, and more importantly, exactly how to get there.”