Apprenticeship boost as Network Rail offers 140 new opportunities: Network Rail apprentices

Thursday 15 Sep 2016

Apprenticeship boost as Network Rail offers 140 new opportunities

  • Network Rail’s Advanced Apprenticeship scheme to expand by 50 per cent in 2017
  • 100 extra apprenticeships places will be up for grabs next year boosting the number of places on offer during the year to 300
  • Scheme expanded to two apprentice intakes each year in March and September

Network Rail expands its award winning Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme and pledges to recruit 140 new apprentices to start training in March 2017.  

The three-year scheme will now offer 300 young people the chance to “earn while they learn” in 2017. Apprentices will be recruited in two intakes – in March and September – gaining valuable work experience, transferable skills and recognised qualifications.

As well as the 50 per cent  increase in the number of opportunities available over the year, Network Rail has moved the Advanced Apprenticeship to a new home at its modern training and development centre near Coventry in the West Midlands. Apprentices will spend the first five months of the three-year scheme at the training centre, specialising in one of five areas:, electrification and plant, overhead lines, signalling, telecoms or track. They then move to their local depots to learn through on-the-job training on the railway’s front line, gaining knowledge and vital skills from experienced team members, complemented by additional off-railway learning throughout the rest of their time on the scheme.

Network Rail group HR director, Ian Iceton said:  “Network Rail has been committed to providing opportunities for young people to develop and progress into a rewarding career for more than ten years. Britain’s railways are one of this country’s success stories and apprentices are a vital part of our 36,000-strong team working to deliver our Railway Upgrade Plan to make our railway better and bigger.

“I urge anyone that has the determination, talent and enthusiasm to work in a role where you not only make a difference every single day but also contribute to building the railway for the future to join us by applying for the Advanced Apprenticeship scheme today.”

Last year, Network Rail received more than 4,000 applications for the Advanced Apprenticeship scheme.  Apprentices join the 20,000-strong orange army of front line engineers and technicians who fix and maintain the rail infrastructure, enabling 1.6 billion rail journeys to be made every year. The majority of those coming through the apprentice scheme also progress their career with Network Rail, with 85% of those who started on the scheme in 2005, when it was first launched, still working for the organisation.

Hamzah Kola, 21, from Bolton, joined the Advanced Apprenticeship scheme in September 2015: “I was going to study pharmacology at university but knew there was no guarantee of a job at the end of it so I looked around for other opportunities. I was pointed towards the Network Rail apprenticeship scheme and though I didn’t know much about apprenticeships beforehand, as soon as I did my research I knew that was what I wanted to do.

“I’m currently working in my depot and getting to put the theory that I was taught during my first year of the scheme into action. Most of my managers are former apprentices so I can see there is lots of opportunity to progress within the organisation and Network Rail offers so many career paths and opportunities. Joining the Advanced Apprenticeship scheme is the best decision that I’ve ever made.” 

The Network Rail Advanced Apprenticeship scheme is open to anyone who is 18 by 1st March 2017. Further details, including cases studies of current and former apprentices talking about their own experiences, can be found on our website: The closing date for applications for the March intake of apprentices is Monday 31st October 2016.

Notes to editors

  • Case studies of current and graduated apprentices from across Britain are available on request.
  • More than 2,000 people have joined Network Rail’s Advanced Apprenticeship scheme since its launch in 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.


About Network Rail’s Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme

Network Rail’s Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme is a three-year programme that equips apprentices with the skills and experience to become a maintenance engineering technician.

The scheme is open to applicants over 18 years of age and has no upper age limit.

Paid learning:

In the first year, apprentices are paid £8,618 + £1,150 when they successfully finish the year; the salary will rise to £12,055 in the second; and £14,364 in the third. The salary is currently under review.

Network Rail provides food and accommodation for apprentices for the first 20 weeks of the scheme, when the apprentices are based at its training centre in the West Midlands.


After three years, apprentices will have the qualifications (NVQ, BTec and ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management)) and skills to develop a long-term career with Network Rail. There are further opportunities to study a foundation degree for those who demonstrate the commitment and ability.



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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.

Every day, there are more than 4.7 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.

We are building a better railway for a better Britain.

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