The IT Factor: Network Rail launches Diverse IT competition

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Network Rail has launched a competition to highlight some of the exciting Information Technology careers available at the organisation, and in the wider rail industry, to young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Announced during Black History Month, it is hoped that the competition will encourage more young people from minority ethnic backgrounds to consider a career in IT, STEM areas more widely, and in the rail industry – all of which are currently under-represented by BAME employees. At Network Rail, just under 10% (9.38%) of employees are from BAME backgrounds.

The competition challenges young people to use their creative and technical skills to invent something new or innovative. They will be asked to think about how their idea would be used, what its purpose would be, who would use it, how to make it safe and secure, and how technology would bring it to life.

Prizes include IT equipment, including brand new Windows 10 laptops, work experience days, and mentoring from IT professionals. One overall winner will be invited to apply with a recommendation for Network Rail’s IT Apprenticeship scheme. No places on the scheme can be guaranteed, but they will receive support from a mentor throughout the application process.

Maureen Parris, Network Rail’s enterprise architect, said: “We know that people from minority ethnic backgrounds are under-represented in our business, and in STEM fields such as IT. We hope this competition will encourage more young people from those backgrounds to consider IT in the railway as an exciting and worthwhile career.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the submissions, and I’m sure we’ll get lots of creative and innovative ideas.”

To enter, candidates must be between 16-18 years of age and live within a 40-mile radius of Network Rail’s Milton Keynes office – Q:MK, Elder Gate, MK9 1EN.

In partnership with their school or college, candidates should email their submission to DiverseIT@networkrail.co.uk.

All entries must include your name, email address, postal address (including postcode), and telephone number.