Information published on 24 March 2015 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 441.

United Kingdom: Network Rail celebrates 10 years of its Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme

  • News from UIC members

Aspiring engineers and those with a burgeoning talent for technology were urged to sign up to one of the UK’s most highly-rated apprenticeships, as Network Rail celebrated 10 years of its Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme on 12 March 2015.

Some 2,000 young people have joined the scheme since it launched in 2005. On 12 March, 10 apprentices representing each of the 10 years came together for an event at King’s Cross Station, London, to share their experiences and talk about some of the exciting projects they’ve been a part of.

Over the last 10 years, apprentices, and those graduating from the scheme have been integral to the successful day-to-day running and operation of the railway. Many have become leaders themselves and work in exciting, vital roles in delivering new modern track design, flying with the engineering air operations team and on European signalling systems.

Network Rail’s significant £38bn railway upgrade plan also provides massive opportunities to be a part of transformational projects, heralding the biggest improvement work since the Victorian age. These improvements will deliver opportunities, connections, economic growth and jobs. For example, the Thameslink programme which will transform north-south travel through London, electrification of the Great Western Main Line which is one of Britain’s oldest and busiest railways, and the Northern Hub project which will stimulate economies in the North of England and see 700 more trains running each day, providing space for 44 million more passengers a year.

The research indicated significant support with:

• 94% believing apprentices are important for the future of the railway network
• 92% saying they would recommend hiring apprentices to other organisations
• 82% said that apprentices help to future proof the industry by avoiding a skills shortage.
And the vast majority of employees also feel that apprentices are enthusiastic about the industry and their job (88%), are quick to learn (91%) and bring a fresh approach (75%).

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail said: “Since 2005 we have seen over 2,000 talented apprentices develop and grow within our organisation. Every day they help our railway to carry more passenger trains and deliver more freight safely and on time, than when they started. They all tell us they are excited by the breadth of opportunities they’ve been offered, and the fact that they’ve been a part of some truly transformational work is something to be celebrated.
“It’s an extremely exciting time for apprentices to join us. We’re embarking on the biggest investment since the Victorian era, which means opportunities for everyone to develop a rewarding career, and play a vital part in shaping the bright future of Britain’s railway.”

(Source: Network Rail)