St Marylebone School from Westminster has been named the winner of a nationwide schools debate focussed on the transport industry, organised by Transport for London (TfL) and engineering company Bechtel. The event forms part of the 100 Years of Women in Transport campaign, which celebrates the role of women in the industry. The campaign aims to improve understanding of what it means to have a career in transport and the diversity of opportunities on offer.
In November, teams from nearly 30 schools across the UK debated the impact women working in transport have on society today compared to the 1900s. The top four performing teams were invited to the final held in the House of Lords. The finalists debated two different motions related to the transport industry, with the winning team selected by a panel of judges made up of London's Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown MVO, Lord Ahmad, Val Shawcross CBE and Bechtel's Ailie MacAdam.
Cecilia, Taj, Jessica and Megan formed the successful debating team from St Marylebone School and were awarded the winning trophy and medals by Lord Ahmad. The team said they had been preparing for the debate for weeks and although it was "nerve-racking" they were "ecstatic to win the award and glad all the hard work paid off".
Mike Brown MVO, London's Transport Commissioner, said: `I would like to congratulate St Marylebone School as the winner of the 100 Years of Women in Transport debating competition. I was impressed with the debating skills of all four finalist teams, who shared with us their perspectives on the history, present and future of the vital role of women in the transport industry.
`This was a great way to celebrate the significant contribution women make to the industry, as well as to generate interest from pupils across the country in the possibilities offered by our industry today. With large-scale projects underway such as Crossrail and future schemes including Crossrail 2 and High Speed 2 set to support thousands of new jobs and homes there has never been a more exciting time to work in transport for girls as well as boys to help us build the transport network of the future.'
Val Shawcross AM said: `I thoroughly enjoyed this event and was hugely impressed by the quality of debating from the young people taking part - I hope all the participants will take away positive memories of their experience in the competition. I also hope that the young women involved will be inspired to pursue a career in the transport industry, and will encourage their friends and peers too. Women have had an integral part to play in London's transport industry for years, and it is important that this is recognised.'
Ailie MacAdam, Regional Manager for Infrastructure, Europe & Africa at Bechtel said: `Witnessing the enthusiasm that we have seen from school children taking part in this competition has been tremendous. Hundreds of young minds have learnt about the wider relevance of the transport industry and the exciting careers it can offer. It is vital that we continue to do as much as possible to encourage a diverse mix of young people to join our industry so that we can meet the challenges of the future with the best talent available.'
Lord Ahmad, Minister for Transport, said: `I was thoroughly impressed by the high calibre of debating skills shown by each team. Through initiatives such as these, we want to encourage girls as well as boys to seek careers in what is an expanding and exciting industry.'
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