Network Rail is urging ambitious and aspiring engineers across the Thames Valley to kick-start a rewarding career in the rail industry. A final few places remain on the company’s award winning advanced apprenticeship scheme and there are currently vacancies at Didcot and Reading.
Applications for the apprenticeship scheme can be made until next week and Network Rail is keen to further boost its talent pool of engineering technicians to support the electrification of the Great Western main line by recruiting additional apprentices. Their skills will play a vital role in one of the most exciting railway projects in Britain.
Today more people travel by rail than at any point since the 1920s and every year 1.3 billion journeys are made on Britain’s railway. 100 million tonnes of freight is transported by rail between ports, factories and shops and anyone joining the company will develop skills which will play a vital role in keeping Britain running.
Patrick Hallgate, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “We have big plans to significantly transform the Western route to become one of the most advanced in Britain. We need more talented and ambitious young people to join us and be part of a 1,300 strong team in the area and help millions of people get to their destinations safely and reliably.
“Beyond their apprenticeships, the best and brightest will have the opportunity to undertake a higher national certificate, 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.”
Network Rail is also keen to attract more women to apply for the scheme. Rachel McDonnell, 22, is a technical officer based at the Swindon maintenance depot. She said: “After I left school I started applying for apprenticeships as I had always been interested in engineering and this seemed the best way to gain the skills that I needed. My neighbour recommended the Network Rail scheme and here I learned both new skills and improve on old ones from my car mechanics course.
“I have made some amazing friends who I still see on a regular basis and would recommend the scheme to anyone as it helped me to find myself. I had a great time working out on track and the gang I was placed with could not have been nicer to me. The team leader constantly helped me whenever I was struggling and I am still grateful for all the support he gave me.”
Applicants can visit a new Facebook page www.facebook.com/ontrack with videos, profiles and content managed by current apprentices who can respond directly to any enquiries and showcase the opportunities on offer.
The apprentices will spend a year training alongside the Royal Navy at Europe’s largest engineering training facility at HMS Sultan in Hampshire. Here they will learn both the technical skills required to work on the railway and develop leadership and teamwork behaviours, which will make them more effective in their roles.
During that training, there could also be opportunities to work on site for a week to gain practical experience. They will then continue their training for two further years on-the-job at their depots, returning to HMS Sultan regularly for additional courses.