Northern’s ‘Year in Industry’ students have once again returned to the Bentham Line to complete their placement.
This is the fifth cohort of university students who take a break from their academic studies between the second and third year to sample working for a large organisation. They come from a number of academic institutions across the north of England, studying a diverse range of subjects including Geography, Business Studies, Information Technology and other subjects.
The students are placed in a wide variety of offices between Manchester and York covering roles in operational management, finance, or support services. The only occasion when they meet during their placement as a distinct group is on the placement with the Bentham Line (Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership [CRP]).
The students work closely with Brian Haworth, Community Rail Officer for the Bentham Line, to prepare a project of their own choice which will address issues around the communities along the routes and those who use train services to improve an aspect of the travel experience.
Last year, the students took the theme of ‘Access for All’ and focused on a series of accessibility improvements at stations, accompanied by a booklet and poster campaign.
The 2023 cohort have already spent time together, having a dementia friends awareness session led by Rod Tickner, vice chair of the CRP and an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends Ambassador. These sessions are augmented with additional material relevant to rail travel, to set their understanding within the context of the CRP’s remit.
The topic for this year’s project is ‘Destination Wellbeing’. The CRP are particularly concerned about the wellbeing of their peers, especially in the aftermath of Covid-related restrictions on movement and socialising. This will be explored through various themes such as culture, accessing the outdoors, reflecting on heritage, active lifestyles, and social interactions.
The CRP and the students are due to launch the project in the first week of July.
Brian Haworth commented: “I am very much looking forward to what imaginative interpretations the students can bring to this topic. I am sure that the final work will be of lasting benefit to the wider community along the line, as well as giving them a good grounding in the working world.”