Transport Secretary Justine Greening today met 85 young graduates from across Britain at Network Rail’s training and development centre near Coventry, to welcome them onto Track and Train - the new cross-rail industry paid work placement scheme.
The scheme will provide an all-round industry experience over 18 months, where graduates will enjoy three, six-month placements: one at Network Rail and two at either a passenger or freight operator or another company within the rail sector.
All those joining this week have graduated in the last two years but owing to tough economic times have found themselves either unemployed or more likely under-employed in a non-graduate level role. Track and Train will give them opportunities to gain valuable experience to then take the next step in their careers.
Traditionally, the rail industry has struggled to attract great numbers of talented women, with perceptions that it is an old fashioned, heavy sector but 30% of Track and Train’s new recruits are female and it’s something the Transport Secretary is keen to encourage.
Justine Greening said: “This scheme is really great news for the next generation of men and, I’m pleased to say, women who will be leading and transforming the industry for years to come.
“More and more graduates are realising that the railways can provide dynamic, fulfilling jobs at a time of not only unprecedented investment in our existing networks but as we also embark on the creation of a truly national high speed railway network.”
Patrick Butcher, Network Rail’s group finance director, responsible for the scheme, said: “We’re working hard to attract talented people to our growing industry. It is a high-tech, customer-focused sector undergoing huge change as we rise to the challenges of meeting growing numbers of users and improving our infrastructure and service.
“Those beginning their careers here today will gain an unparalleled experience, developing a fantastic knowledge and understanding of the challenges everyone in the industry faces and have a wonderful range of the opportunities to contribute to the shaping the future. I wish them all every success.”