East Coast apprentices forging their path in the rail industry: Network Rail's East Coast apprentices for National Apprenticeship Week

Tuesday 6 Feb 2024

East Coast apprentices forging their path in the rail industry

Region & Route:
| Eastern: East Coast

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Network Rail shines a light on two of its current East Coast apprentices and explains the opportunities to those interested in working for the railway.

Network Rail has an established apprenticeship programme which recruits people into various roles across the organisation, from joining on-track teams, to working behind the scenes.

In September 2023, two new apprentices joined the organisation’s East Coast route – Ellie Lamb and Ethan McGlade.

Ellie joined on a level three apprenticeship in Finance last year. Her course lasts for three years and involves a balance of both practical and theoretical learning.

She spends most of her week working in York with her efficiency and analysis colleagues in Network Rail’s finance team but spends one day a week attending college in Leeds, training to be an accountant.

Ellie said: “I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship so far, and the team that I’m working with are helpful and supportive. The experience is what I expected but at the same time it’s not, it’s far more interesting.

“I’ve already had the opportunity to get involved in a number of different tasks and have been given a level of responsibility, which is great – it’s good for my learning. It’s my job to match people up in the organisation with their cost centre and help different business functions manage their budgets.”

“Sometimes with the work I do, it makes me feel a bit like a detective, trying to figure out what goes where, but I really enjoy working with different teams and advising them on how best to spend their budget efficiently.”

Ellie Lamb, finance apprentice at Network Rail

An apprenticeship at Network Rail offers people a different way to learn and gain experience in the rail industry, compared to going to university.

Ellie continued: “I’d previously tried going to university and found that the way of learning didn’t suit me. I learn more effectively through practical learning and applying knowledge to real-life experiences and I’m keen to learn directly from the experts.

“I chose to carry out an apprenticeship with Network Rail because there were more varied opportunities on offer than elsewhere that I’d looked at. I liked the thought that I’d see visible results and the benefits that passengers gain from the money that we spend on improving the railway.

“Eventually, I would like to work my way towards being a finance business partner for Network Rail and I’m excited to see what the rest of my apprenticeship will bring and gain as much experience as possible.”

Network Rail currently has apprenticeships advertised in finance, rail engineering and infrastructure operations, planning, digital and technological solutions, and as a chartered surveyor. Apprenticeships are available at either level 3 or level 6.  

Ethan has joined Network Rail and is working as an apprentice in its planning team, based in Darlington. He works with our teams scheduling vital engineering work that deliver upgrades to the railway for our passengers.

Alongside his planning work, he attends Leeds College of Building on a Transport Planning course as part of his apprenticeship. He is training to become a section planner.

The 23-year-old joined a three year course and he says it has long been a dream of his to work in the rail industry.

Ethan explained: "I have always been a railway enthusiast. Being able to work in this industry, in the nitty gritty running of the system, is an enjoyable experience in itself - it’s hard to pick one thing that I am most enjoying.

“Even in my short time here, I have had such brilliant opportunities to develop skills which will serve me well and mould a great career for me, hopefully in the railway. The people I have met so far in Darlington and across the region have all been so lovely and it feels like a real privilege to work alongside them.

Ethan McGlade, planning apprentice, Network Rail

“Because I have always loved the railway, I want to forge a long and successful career in the industry, though I’d particularly like to get involved in Route Services, working closely with our customers, the regions, routes and supply chain to deliver better outcomes for passengers and freight users.

“This is an industry that I really believe in and want to see progress further, and I want to be a part of that. For me this isn’t just a job but it’s a stake in our national infrastructure and something that I want to develop in the future.”

For more information about the apprenticeships currently available at Network Rail, please visit: www.earlycareers.networkrail.co.uk/programme/apprenticeships.

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Joshua Chapman
Media Relations Manager
Network Rail

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.

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