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Network Rail, 200 apprentices get on track for success

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.

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, electrification and plant, property works and mechanical locking. This year, Network Rail is also training apprentices for its national delivery service and for the channel tunnel rail link teams as well as providing two places for one of its contractors Balfour Beatty.

Steve Featherstone, director of maintenance at Network Rail said: “Our apprentices will be part of a 34,000-strong team helping three million people get to work and home again, to their day or night out, to their holiday or to their university or school. It’s challenging, rewarding and of great value to Britain and its economic success.

“In the future we expect the railway to become more popular and we have big plans for making it more reliable, efficient and better value for money; our apprentices will play a big role in that.”



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He added: “We now have the building blocks in place so that beyond their apprenticeships, our engineers 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.”

Lettie Todd, a third year Network Rail property works apprentice based at London Bridge station, commented on the scheme’s benefits: “I always liked the mixture of academic and practical study whilst at school so decided that an apprenticeship would provide me with what I needed. I chose this scheme because it is one of the best opportunities available for women to become involved in the engineering industry.”

Andy Wheeler is a former Royal Engineer in the British army and has just completed the first year of the apprenticeship and is now based in Brighton. He explains his career switch: “After leaving the Royal Engineers I was keen to return to an engineering based occupation. I researched various apprenticeships and I realised that a job working for something as important as the national infrastructure would be a wise choice. The number of possible career options at Network Rail made it an attractive prospect and when I realised I could study for an electrical qualification here, there was simply no hesitation in applying.”