Job seekers are encouraged to apply early as Network Rail’s popular and award-winning Advanced Apprenticeship scheme opens for applications.
Network Rail is looking to recruit 150 apprentices nationwide as it continues to deliver its £38bn Railway Upgrade Plan. Last year, it received more than 3,500 applications for the scheme.
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 1.6bn journeys every year.
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.
The scheme was launched (Thursday 28 January) as the Government announced its commitment to 30,000 apprenticeships across the transport sector over the course of this parliament as part of its Transport Skills strategy.
The majority of those coming through the Advanced Apprenticeship scheme also progress their career with Network Rail, with 85 per cent of those who started on the scheme in 2005 still working for the organisation.
Katie Tingle completed the scheme in 2012 and, with her team of 11, is now responsible for running the newest Mobile Maintenance Train (MMT) or “workshop on wheels” out of Derby. The MMT is revolutionising the way in which track maintenance is carried out, its key feature being that it allows workers to operate within an enclosed environment, protecting them from the elements and other trains and allowing engineering work to take place without the whole line having to close.
"Joining the Network Rail apprenticeship scheme was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Not only did I get paid to learn, I now have a career that I love. I’ve been given so many opportunities, and bringing this new, ground-breaking piece of machinery to my home town depot is one of the highlights.
An apprenticeship can give you a lot of extra life skills as well as just the specific expertise you set out to learn, for example I’ve learned how to budget and manage teams. You’ll gain knowledge you’ll be able to use wherever you end up. I would advise anyone who wants a rewarding career, and the skills and qualifications you need to get on, to sign up. You won’t regret it."
Katie Tingle, track section manager and former Network Rail apprentice
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 before moving to their local depots and learning 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 Network Rail's training centres.
"Bringing bright, young talent with fresh thinking, enthusiasm and dedication to our 35,000-strong 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."
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail
More than 2,000 people have joined Network Rail’s Advanced Apprenticeship scheme since 2005, including school and college leavers as well as others who were unhappy with their jobs and chose to go back and into training to secure a more stable, long-term career.
"Transport doesn’t just help people get around, it helps them get on. Our record investment is creating thousands of high quality careers across the country, many of which require Britain’s best minds.
We need apprentices to deliver our world class infrastructure system and plan to create 30,000 apprenticeships in the rail and road sector by 2020. We’ll be writing new apprenticeship targets into contracts for suppliers and also have agreement from employers on stretching new goals to encourage more women to consider careers in the industry. I hope that people across the country take advantage of this fantastic opportunity with Network Rail."
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin
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