There’s nothing like a bit of real practical experience when it comes to mastering the basics of engineering.
And at Redcar & Cleveland College students are certainly getting to develop their skills thanks to a unique partnership with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR).
Putting their newfound knowledge to good use, the Engineering students are helping to carry out small-scale maintenance and repairs for the railway’s Permanent Way Department, which is responsible for maintaining the track and lineside structures.
NYMR volunteer Nick Carter said: “We welcome the support the students are able to give as it helps us with the upkeep of tools and plant, while the young people benefit from applying their skills and learning from equipment that is from a real working environment.”
Supplying the College with hydraulic jacks, water pumps, generator sets and crane gearboxes from the workshop, Nick explained that most of the kit is second tier reserve or donated equipment.
He explained: “This makes it ideal for teaching purposes as it can be retained to work around the academic year, without the worry of it potentially being called back to the railway to deal with a sudden priority.”
Also, he said: “Coming from a working environment, the equipment will have real problems such as seized fastenings, demonstrating to students the fact that it is often harder to take things to bits to assess them, than it is to repair them.”
These are the real everyday issues that engineers will have to deal with in their working life.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a registered charity operated by hundreds of volunteers and a small team of paid staff. It cares for and operates the historic railway between Pickering and Grosmont, giving the public a real insight into life in the steam age.
Proud to be able to play a part in keeping this important part of North East history alive, Redcar & Cleveland College Engineering tutor Ged McGurk said: “It is fantastic experience for our students to get to work with this equipment and see how lessons learned in the classroom apply to real life.”
He explained that the students are learning every step of the way, from dismantling each item to carefully cleaning each component, restoring or replacing any damaged parts and then putting it all back together.
Engineering student Jack Harland, 16, said: “It makes what we are doing more realistic, knowing that we are fixing something that is going to be used. This is proper engineering.”
Taylor Williams, 16, said: “It’s good to see something finished and to know that it is going to be used.”
While James Craven, also 16, added: “There is a lot of responsibility knowing that the equipment will be put to use and needs to be right for health and safety.”
Want to know more about the Engineering courses available at Redcar & Cleveland College visit: https://www.cleveland.ac.uk/fulltime/engineering/
Apply now for courses starting this September.
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