Monday 3 Oct 2011


Region & Route:
| Eastern: Anglia
| Eastern

Promising apprentices have begun a three-year programme to become skilled maintenance engineering technicians at Network Rail after the company received nearly 8,000 applications for its award winning advanced apprenticeship scheme – and five of them will be working in Hertfordshire.

The apprentices will spend a year training alongside the Royal Navy at Europe’s largest engineering training facility at HMS Sultan in Hampshire. Here they will learn both the technical skills required to work on the railway and develop leadership and teamwork behaviours which will make them more effective in their roles.

They will continue their training for two further years on-the-job at depots in Hitchin and Chesthunt, returning to HMS Sultan for additional courses. The apprentices specialise in track, signalling and telecoms and mechanical locking.

Steve Featherstone, director of maintenance at Network Rail said: "Our apprentices will be part of a 34,000-strong team helping three million people get to work and home again to their day or night out, to their holiday or to their university or school. It’s challenging, rewarding and of great value to Britain and its economic success.

“In the future we expect the railway to become more popular and we have big plans for making it more reliable, efficient and better value for money; our apprentices will play a big role in that.”

He added: “We now have the building blocks in place so that beyond their apprenticeships, our engineers can undertake a higher national certificate, a foundation degree and then a full degree in engineering. They can earn while they learn and go as far as their aptitude, attitude and ambition can take them.”

Notes to editors

This year’s apprentices are not available for interview at this stage in their training.

About the Network Rail Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme
A three-year programme that equips you with the skills and experience to become a maintenance engineering technician.
There are seven engineering programmes: track, signals, electrification and plant, signal design, property works, mechanical locking and telecoms. Each one gives you the chance to work in a critical area of the business, where your development will continue beyond the three years of the scheme.

Paid learning
In the first year, apprentices will be paid £8,400 + £1,150 when they successfully finish the year; the salary will rise to £11,750 in the second; and £14,000 in the third.
Network Rail will also feed, pay for accommodation and provide the clothing and personal protective equipment that they need in the first year – including safety boots, cargo trousers and a fleece. There are plenty of holidays: 28 days plus bank holidays in total. Network Rail will pay for apprentices to travel home for long weekends and Christmas, Easter and summer holidays.

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. Many apprentices complete their first year and soon start to think about their career options – and many set their sights on becoming technical officers, team leaders or managers. There are even further opportunities to study a foundation degree for those who demonstrate the commitment and ability.
We will begin recruiting for 2012 in January. Further information can be found at

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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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