Tuesday 8 Mar 2005


Region & Route:
| Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western
Over 1,000 17-19 year olds are being sought in a nationwide hunt signalling the start of Network Rail’s advanced apprenticeship scheme – a £30 million investment in one of the UK’s biggest apprenticeship programmes. Over the next five years Network Rail will be searching for the talent of tomorrow who will help to rebuild Britain’s railway. The 200 apprentices per year who successfully complete the comprehensive three-year course are guaranteed a job within Network Rail’s maintenance function, which has centres across the country. Iain Coucher, Deputy CEO of Network Rail, says: “This exciting new scheme demonstrates our commitment to investing in the railway men and women of tomorrow. The scheme provides a fantastic opportunity for the successful applicants who will play a key role in helping to rebuild our railway.” For the north west, some 26 apprentices are to be sought over the next few months to take advantage of this superb new scheme. In the first year of their course, the aspiring young apprentices will be trained at the Royal Navy’s historic HMS Sultan and accommodated ‘next door’ at HMS Collingwood - both located in Gosport, Hampshire.  This combined 179-acre establishment, Europe’s largest engineering training centre, boasts bespoke facilities, including: fully refurbished accommodation, swimming pool, football, tennis and squash amenities and much, much more. Almost £2 million is being invested in completely refurbishing living accommodation, common rooms, kitchens and classrooms within the complex.   A massive hangar is also being fitted out with railway equipment – track, signals and structures – to help provide the apprentices with a real flavour of what’s to come. The young people will be taught by the very best trainers from the Royal Navy, Network Rail, and Flagship Training Ltd, and will ‘earn as they learn’, being paid  £9,000 in their first year rising to £13,000 by year three. The initial course of study will give the apprentices a solid background in engineering, leading to attainment of NVQs at level 2 and 3 and a BTEC National Award technical certificate. Network Rail staff, delivering a range of rail-specific training, will teach the second and third years of the course. This will help to fulfil Network Rail’s strategy of standardising its employees’ set of competencies and standards.

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About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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