NEW cafes, hotels, playgrounds and train-themed topiary were among the ideas put forward by students for West Somerset Railway (WSR) land at Bishops Lydeard.

Year 10 pupils from West Somerset College took part in a special project as part of the West Somerset Opportunity Area (WSOA) funding aimed at increasing the district's social mobility - currently ranked lowest in the country.

Students were divided into teams of six and assigned roles such as bid manager, architect, and marketing officer.

They were given a brief of what WSR was looking for- something in keeping with the tradition of the heritage railway, but also capable of attracting more young people to the station.

He said: "I have been very impressed with the standard of presentations, there have been some very good ideas.

"It is important to make these links and for the pupils to try out a task with real-world implications.

"It is good for them to know there are skilled, well-paid jobs here in West Somerset."

Dave Jackson, from the Beach Hotel in Minehead, was one of the advisors helping the students.

"Some of the ideas have been terrific and it just shows what creativity young people have when they are not stifled.

"I have seen plans for hotels, bridges, train-themed topiary and more."

Rosa Lewis, WSOA enterprise co-ordinator said: "We want to highlight the sorts of jobs out there that are somewhat hidden to young people, and give them the chance to find out more about different career paths available to them.

Miss Lewis said if students had four or more contacts with employers before leaving school they would be 86 per cent less likely to become 'Neet' - not in education, employment or training.