Network Rail keeping it in the family

Craig Dobson is keeping up a 140 year old family tradition by being part of Network Rail’s apprenticeship scheme. Every generation of the family back to his great, great grandfather in 1871 has worked in the rail industry.

His brother Andrew is in his third year as a Network Rail apprentice; father Steve is a rolling stock technician with train operator Merseyrail; grandfather Charlie worked for Liverpool trams; great grandfather Robert worked at Edge Hill after serving in World War 1; great, great grandfather John started it all in 1871 working for the London North Western Railway Company at Edge Hill station.

Craig 24, from Greasby on the Wirral, has completed the first year of his three-year apprenticeship at HMS Sultan in Gosport, Hampshire, which is Europe’s largest specialist training centre.

He is now based in Sheffield, working under supervision and gaining vital on the job experience as he trains to become a signalling maintenance technician.

He said of his stay in Gosport: “Throughout the year there have been great opportunities to enhance my engineering skills and outlook on life. I have worked with a high standard of equipment as well as being tutored by experienced and knowledgeable engineers. The social side has also allowed me to live alongside my fellow apprentices, which has been a great experience and I have certainly gained valuable life skills along the way.”


Asked why he joined the scheme he said: “My brother had joined the programme in 2009 and had given me an insight into the scheme. Listening to my brother’s stories of both educational and social activities, I decided that I would apply for the scheme myself because of the great opportunities it would give me.

“I had worked alongside my uncle for a while doing a bit of electrical work, so I have already had pervious interest in this type of work. Signalling gives me the opportunity to work at different engineering levels too and I am currently enjoying working alongside the S&T faulting team.”

Brother Andrew is a third year Network Rail apprentice based in Liverpool studying railway track maintenance, and said of Craig: “I’m chuffed. We’ve always worked together since we were younger, both being chefs before this came along.

“He has really put himself in a good situation by joining the company, and with him having a degree in computer aided design already, I’m sure he’ll do really well in his job.

“The fact that I am working the track side of things and Craig working the electrical side has a nice touch to it. If in the future we both reach our potential it could really be a big advantage having a brother who knows his stuff about another discipline. We’re both helping each other out with assignments and answering questions that we are curious about with regard to each other’s discipline.”

Andrew is due to complete his apprenticeship in 2012 followed a year later by Craig.

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