The railway in Wales needs more skilled engineers to support its continuing growth, says Network Rail Wales today as it announces its latest advanced apprenticeship scheme for 2012.
Network Rail Wales is looking to increase its intake of apprentices, particularly to be trained in electrical engineering skills, in order to be ready for the forthcoming electrification of parts of the railway in south Wales. The company will also be actively promoting its apprenticeship scheme outside the major cities in a bid to encourage more applicants from rural areas.
Mark Langman, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “The railway in Wales is growing and we have big plans, including the £200m re-signalling and enhancement project in Cardiff and main line electrification. We need talented and ambitious young people to join us and be part of a 1,300 strong team in Wales helping millions of people get to their destinations safely and reliably.
“We have six depots across Wales generating potential employment opportunities to prospective applicants from across the region, including those from rural areas. Beyond their apprenticeships, employees 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.”
Applications officially open on Monday 6 February, when the company launches a new Facebook page - www.facebook.com/ontrack - with videos, profiles and content run 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. Since last year, Network Rail has been partnering with the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways to assist with renewing the infrastructure on the heritage railway by providing its first year track apprentices over a period of five weeks.
They will then continue their training for two further years on-the-job at depots across Wales before returning to HMS Sultan for additional courses.
Adam Sargeant, a second year Network Rail electrification and plant apprentice from Newport, said: “I applied to Network Rail to seek a career in electrical engineering. I researched the scheme and it ticked all the right boxes offering me the opportunity to be involved in developing Britain’s railways. With so much investment and vision for the railways there was no better time to apply.”