The apprentices specialise in track, signalling, telecoms and electrification and plant. Over the next two years they will work under supervision gaining vital experience as they train to become maintenance technicians. They will return to HMS Sultan for further courses and training throughout this time.
Paul Rutter, route infrastructure maintenance director, said: “Getting out on the railway, learning on-the job, responding to incidents and gaining experience from our specialists is a vital part of our apprenticeship. Every day they will be part of a team making sure we get three million people to work and home again. It’s rewarding and of great value to Britain.
“The railway is becoming ever more popular and we have big plans for making it more reliable, efficient and better value for money; our apprentices will play a big role in that.”
He added: “We now have the building blocks in place so that beyond their apprenticeships, our engineers can undertake an HNC, a foundation degree and then a full degree in engineering. They can earn while they learn and go as far as their aptitude, attitude and ambition can take them.”
Sophie Fardell, aged 20, a Network Rail apprentice based in Lincoln commented on why she joined the scheme: “I wanted a job that would enable me to build a career for myself. I learn better from practical learning and so an apprenticeship in engineering seemed to be the best option for me to learn while on the job and earning so I could support myself.”