Liam is on track for a job in rail industry

Star students (from left) Liam Barrass, Samantha Davenport and Elliott Johnson. Picture by Mark Savage.
Star students (from left) Liam Barrass, Samantha Davenport and Elliott Johnson. Picture by Mark Savage.
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A Wallsend student is on track for a career in the rail industry after enjoying success at an awards event.

Liam Barrass, 23, picked up the Rail Ambassadors Award at the inaugural ceremony held by the Rail Academy in Gateshead.

The multi-million pound academy opened last September to help secure the future of rail engineering in the region and support existing workers wanting to upskill.

Liam, a former doorman and labourer, said: “The Rail Academy has changed my life.

“I have grown and matured and feel as though I have a real career ahead of me.

“I’m studying for the Level 3 Diploma but want to continue studying for higher qualifications here for as long as I can.”

Liam, along with fellow students Ryan Dale, Brandon Foster, James Gowland, Liam McLeod, also received an award for winning the academy’s Pandrol Challenge, which promoted teamwork and communication through problem-solving and finding efficient methods of working.

Marc McPake, the academy’s Head of Rail, said: “I strongly believe that these students deserve to be recognised because they have played an integral role in helping to make the Rail Academy the thriving success it is today.

“Often, in their own time, they helped to install the equipment, gaining experience that would be hard to match anywhere, and they actually had input into certain aspects of the building – bringing classrooms to life with posters and materials and injecting soul into them.

“This, on top of their outstanding academic achievement, needs to be celebrated.”

He added: “Our first year has been incredible and the support we have received from the industry has been phenomenal.

“We are not only producing the rail engineers of the future, we are also offering a bespoke training facility to help employers upskill staff and train new employees.”