Early Christmas present for Liam

Some of the students at Newcastle College's Rail Academy. Picture by Mark Savage.
Some of the students at Newcastle College's Rail Academy. Picture by Mark Savage.

A student on the right track for a career saw Christmas come early.

Liam Barrass, 23, from Wallsend, was one of four students from Newcastle College’s Rail Academy celebrating new jobs at Christmas.

The quartet spent Christmas morning working on the East Coast Mainline after securing jobs as linesmen repairing and upgrading the overhead line.

The job opportunity came through ISS Labour, who signed a partnership agreement with the Rail Academy earlier this year and has already taken on ten students in paid placements.

Marc McPake, head of rail at Newcastle College, said: “Just over a year ago, Aaron, Ben, Liam and Robert came to us with no knowledge or experience of rail engineering.

“The fact they have now, less than 18 months later, walked into extremely well-paid jobs is just phenomenal and testament to the fantastic facility we have built.”

The Rail Academy is the first of its kind – a national training hub for rail engineering that will support employers looking to develop their existing workforce or recruit the next generation of engineers. The Academy opened in September 2014 with support from Network Rail and the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR).