Excelsior College students have a first class ticket to ride on board a partnership to careers success with Virgin Trains East Coast.

They are being given the chance to seize apprenticeships and work placements at a summer school with the rail giant which will showcase the vast array of roles within the company.

Virgin Trains East Coast is looking to recruit a new generation of employees to its business and Excelsior Academy has put its pupils at the head of the queue to grab employment opportunities.

Excelsior Academy is the only school in North East England invited to the summer school – the latest element of a growing business partnership with Virgin Trains East Coast which is impacting every stage of school life.

Virgin Trains East Coast and charity Business in the Community are official enterprise advisors to Excelsior which is committed to giving every student the best possible chance to move into employment or further/higher education.

The three-year strategic partnership is delivering:

  • A Virgin Trains East Coast Summer School. Excelsior College students aged 16-19 will spend a week in July in York, London and Newcastle learning about the different facets of the business and opportunities available
  • A six-week Industry Alignment project with Rainbird Primary pupils, looking at business critical areas such as STEM and finance and sustainability, which culminated in a showcase event for parents
  • Virgin Trains East Coast inputting at a Newcastle secondary schools’ careers network meeting at Excelsior, learning about the academy’s careers, education, information and guidance work
  • Rail Week in October when pupils across the academy will be invited to work on a STEM related project
  • Great Exhibition of the North where as a main sponsor, Virgin Trains East Coast will ask pupils to build their train station of the future and unveil it to a panel of top judges in Newcastle’s Discovery Museum

Michelle Dickinson, Virgin Trains East Coast Community Engagement Manager, said: “One of the key reasons we embarked on this partnership is to give great opportunities to our staff to help them develop and bring the skills they learn from the partnership back into the business, but also as a talent pipeline.

“I’ve met pupils in Excelsior who I think could be our future employees.

“We are looking for students who are interested in us as a business and in the rail industry. There are incredible opportunities that include our innovation team, social media and health and well-being teams in addition to the roles they’ll think of like train drivers, dispatchers and on-board staff. There’s actually over 800 different roles in our organisation with fantastic opportunities right across the Virgin brand.

“Our summer school is prestigious, open to only a few schools. It’s a full-on week from July 23rd to the 27th, full working days where we will put students through their paces learning about the roles in our organisation.”

Excelsior College Assistant Principal Deon Krishnan and Hannah Cummins, Excelsior Industry Alignment Manager, are leading the academy’s work with Virgin Trains East Coast.

“It’s fantastic for us that a business of the stature of Virgin Trains East Coast recognises the potential of our students and wants to create a platform like this for them,” said Deon.