Network Rail chief hopes electrification plans spark intrest in graduates

Applications open for around 100 places for the 2012 scheme. With the company receiving the green light from government to electrify hundreds of miles of track on the Great Western main line from London to Cardiff and in the north west of England, Network Rail’s chief executive David Higgins is hopeful that they can attract the very best young minds in this specialist field. A recent skills report by the Institution of Engineering and Technology found that 23% of British electrical engineering employers have experienced problems in recruiting engineering graduates.

Commenting on this, David Higgins said: “While we’ve had unprecedented levels of applications across the board, we’ve struggled to attract a great number of candidates for our electrical engineering graduate scheme. We understand that other sectors can be attractive but we need to shout louder about the exciting opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for electrical engineers as we develop and improve the network including our plans for electrification.

“We’re delivering a vital public service used by more than three million people every day to get to work, home, for business and leisure. A successful railway helps drive a thriving economy and we have big plans to expand it and make it even better – today’s graduates can be part of that future.”

Paul Davies, IET Head of Policy, said: “Our research clearly shows that there are opportunities out there for all engineers, including recent graduates. With many exciting railway infrastructure projects in the pipeline, now is a hugely exciting time to consider electrical engineering. Those considering a career as an engineer should take note that engineering employers, such as Network Rail, offer well paid and rewarding jobs for qualified graduates.”

Akthar Hussain, who is on the electrical engineering graduate scheme at Network Rail commented on his experience: “My first placement at Stratford in London brought all sorts of unexpected challenges. When we needed to discuss security cameras, I organised and hosted a meeting with senior managers and stakeholders. I enjoyed challenges in telecoms, signalling and played a role in increasing line capacity. On a typical day at Stratford there are 40,000 people using the station. When the Olympics gets going there will be 120,000. The decisions I’ve made so far will make a real contribution and I’m so proud of that. I love pushing myself forward in such a complex organisation.”

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Whilst at Network Rail there are many engineering opportunities, there are also roles in network operations, finance, information management and commercial property - Network Rail is one of the largest land owners in Britain.

Robin Miedzybrodzki is on Network Rail’s civil engineering scheme as well as training to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. Commenting on his double life and how he’s preparing for the Games, Robin said: “The partnership I have with Network Rail allows me to develop my engineering skills while also providing the flexibility to train full time for beach volleyball and compete internationally for Great Britain.

“My playing partner, Tom Lord, and I are currently competing on the FIVB World Tour, CEV Challenger Tour, and the Volleyball England Beach Tour and these competitions are vital for our team as we aim to gain Olympic qualification points and develop our game to a level so to produce a world class performance for the 2012 Games. With the funding cuts from UK sport in 2010, Network Rail’s support has been absolutely crucial in keeping my Olympic dream alive.”

Kate Anderson, who joined the Network Rail graduate scheme in 2004 is now station manager at King’s Cross in London, which handles 25m people’s journeys every year. She said: “When I was at university, I knew I wanted to be a manager, I just didn’t know of what. I was looking at retail but after seeing Network Rail at a careers fair I realised that you could do almost anything on the scheme. It was the only scheme that offered that freedom, and I thought if I can’t get a great job there, I won’t be able to do it anywhere.

“Managing King’s Cross is like running your own business. I love having that ‘I did that’ effect. Every day I get to see the result of my work.”

City.Mobi

Also in Europe today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to London.

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City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.