The Network Rail 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.
Andy Wheeler from Horsham is one of the apprentices joining the Brighton team with a specialism in electrification and plant. Revealing why he applied to join the scheme, he said: “After leaving the royal engineers I was keen to return to an engineering based occupation. I researched the various apprenticeships available and realised working on something as important as the national infrastructure would be a wise choice. I looked into a career with Network Rail and the number of possible career paths made for an attractive prospect with far more promising opportunities than any of the others I had looked at.
“I had always been interested in studying for an electrical qualification and upon discovering I could with Network Rail there was simply no hesitation in applying for the scheme.”
Another apprentice starting work at Brighton is 21-year-old Andrew Fox from Newport, Shropshire. Commenting on what he has learnt so far that will help him in the workplace, he said: ““Since becoming an apprentice I have learnt how to be a team player. It has shown me how to develop managerial skills and improve relationships within the team. I have also learnt new skills academically and furthered my electrical knowledge, learning new aspects I hadn’t even touched on during college courses, and safety measures I had never even considered before”
Steve Featherstone, director of maintenance at Network Rail 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.”
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