Published on : Friday, February 5, 2016
Network Rail’s award-winning apprenticeship scheme is looking for engineers and technicians of the future to join our teams working night and day to keep trains running on one of the world’s fastest-growing railways.
It’s the middle of a cold night, but Dave Rayner and his team are out maintaining the railway in Kent. Dave, 27, wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he left school, but thanks to a Network Rail apprenticeship he’s now managing a team of technicians looking after electrical equipment across east Kent.
The company’s popular and award-winning Advanced Apprenticeship scheme is looking for 150 apprentices nationwide.Team leader Dave, a graduate of the apprentice scheme, said: “I’ve always been interested in electrical stuff but I’m also a practical person and wanted to work. I knew I didn’t want to do something office-based when I left school and I found the apprenticeship scheme over the Internet.
“It’s been fantastic for me and I’ve progressed well within the company. No days are the same and I have a great team of people to work with. I know other people from my area who have also done well and manage teams on the railway.
“Network Rail also paid for me to take a foundation degree in railway engineering at Sheffield Hallam. It’s a great job and I genuinely don’t know what I would be doing now without it.”The three-year Advanced Apprenticeship scheme offers young people over the age of 18, a chance to earn while they learn, while gaining valuable work experience, transferable skills and recognised qualifications along the way. Apprentices will be part of the 20,000-strong orange army of front line engineers and technicians who fix and maintain the rail infrastructure, enabling 1.6 billion journeys every year as part of the company’s £38bn Railway Upgrade Plan.
Depots looking for apprentices in the South East in particular are Ashford, Gravesend, Croydon and London Waterloo. Last year the firm had more than 3,500 applicants across the country.
Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said: “Bringing bright, young talent with fresh thinking, enthusiasm and dedication to our team is a critical part of how we will deliver our Railway Upgrade Plan and make our railway bigger and better as it becomes ever increasingly busy.“We want talented and capable young people who want a job where you make a difference every single day as we continue to build a better, safer railway for now and for the future.”
This September will see the Advanced Apprenticeship scheme move from its naval base at HMS Sultan in Gosport, Hampshire to its modern training and development centre in the West Midlands. Apprentices train in one of five specialist areas: track, signalling, telecoms, electrification and plant or overhead lines. They spend the first five months of the three-year scheme at the West Midlands training centre and then move to their local depots and learn through on-the-job training on the railway’s front line, gaining knowledge and vital skills from experienced team members. This is complemented by additional off-railway learning at our training centres.
More than 2,000 people have joined Network Rail’s Advanced Apprenticeship scheme since 2005. These include school and college leavers as well as those that were unhappy with their jobs, and chose to go back and into training to secure a more stable, long-term career. The majority of those coming through the apprentice scheme also progress their career with Network Rail, with 85% of those who started on the 2005 Apprenticeship Scheme still working for the organisation.