Network Rail has taken on further 190 promising apprentices to its award winning three-year programme, where they will train to become skilled maintenance engineering technicians, after the company received more than 6,500 applications.
With the recent green light by government for additional investment in Britain’s railways, including electrification of the Great Western route and the Northern Hub, today’s apprentice could tomorrow, be part of one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the country.
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 to make them more effective in their roles.
They will continue their training for two further years on-the-job at depots across the country, returning to HMS Sultan for additional courses and learning. The apprentices specialise in track, signalling and telecoms and electrification and plant. This year, Network Rail is also training apprentices for its contractors Balfour Beatty, Costain and Nexus.
Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s managing director for network operations said: “We’ve recruited smart and enthusiastic young men and women with a variety of work experience, education and backgrounds, who we will train to become skilled engineering technicians. With the big projects we have ahead of us, we need more exceptional people to deliver a better value and efficient railway. Today’s apprentice will, once trained, be part of a 35,000-strong team who every day help millions to get where they need to be safely and on time.
He added: “We now have the building blocks in place so that beyond their apprenticeships, our best people can 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.”
Kelsey Everton, a 19 year-old 2nd year apprentice is based at Sandwell and Dudley depot in the West Midlands learning electrification and plant. She commented: “I’d like to eventually teach on the apprenticeship scheme, it’s been a great experience. There has been a lot of hard work but have made some good friends and there has been some good banter. There are only six girls on the course in my year but it’s been a good experience. My friends think it’s a little weird that I am doing this but I would urge them – and anyone else – to do it.”
Jamie Mills, a 22 year-old track maintenance apprentice based in Brighton said: “I saw the scheme advertised and decided to apply. I like working with things and wanted to find out more. There are so many opportunities within Network Rail and I want to do well. I came to the assessment day on crutches after being hit by a car and was determined to pass. You can work towards great qualifications and I would recommend the apprenticeship scheme to anyone who was thinking of applying.”