Network Rail Apprenticeship Scheme - Case Studies, Western Route: Western Apprentices March 2019

Friday 8 Mar 2019

Network Rail Apprenticeship Scheme - Case Studies, Western Route

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western

Find out more about the Network Rail apprenticeship scheme with three current apprentices on Western route - Jospeh Clewer, Stephen Geer and Joseph Dijo.

Joseph Clewer

Third year track maintenance apprentice, Reading Maintenance Delivery Unit


Career history

I began working at 16 as a customer assistant at Argos. This was a part-time role whilst I was attending college, studying engineering.

After approximately 15 months of working in this position, an opening for the stock room team leader became available and I applied. I was successful in my application and took this role. This required me to oversee all the deliveries, including the administration side and the physical elements, as well loading and unloading lorries, stacking the store room shelves etc. I was also required to move between stores when management cover was required.

I left this job role and started the apprenticeship programme at Network Rail in September 2016, after deciding that I wanted to do something different. Specifically, something outdoors and more hands on.


What made you choose the apprenticeship route with Network Rail?

I chose to start on the apprenticeship as I’d heard that the course and training offered by Network Rail was of a far higher standard than those offered by other companies. I also believe that the apprenticeship offers more chance of promotion, as well as being promoted earlier than others within the company. This prospect of a more successful career drove me to choose the apprenticeship.


How did this route differ to what you were doing before?

This career route is very different in some ways and similar in others to my last job. There’s still a large amount of administration and paperwork to do, but it’s far more enjoyable as I’m more easily able to see the real-world benefits of what I do every day. Now when we go out and do a job you can see the improvement and know that what you did has made a difference, whereas before it was harder to see the benefits of stacking a storeroom every day.


How has the course helped you in your current role?

The course is really helping me to learn more about the work that I’m doing every day. Each training module is a new opportunity to improve myself and my skills. This makes my day to day work on track much easier as I understand more and can develop and implement my ideas more effectively.

The thing I enjoy the most about my job and course is getting to come into work every day. Whether with my team in the depot, or on a training course, I’m almost guaranteed that I’m going to have a great day, with lots of laughter. I go home feeling that the work we did was worth something and that I’m a valued and useful member of the team.


Plans for the future

My future plans are to move up within the depot hierarchy, hopefully taking the path through to be a track maintenance engineer and hopefully go on to be the infrastructure maintenance delivery manager. I hope I would be able to go as far as to end up on the route management team eventually.


Joseph Dijo

Apprentice, Slough Railway Station Depot


Career history

Before starting this apprenticeship, I was at University Technical College (UTC) in Reading studying IT. I did this for two years. I also had a part-time job working at Legoland.


What made you choose the apprenticeship route with Network Rail?

The reason I picked this apprenticeship is because of practical reasons. The way that I learn is by practically doing activities and tasks, so by hearing and understanding what Network Rail’s apprenticeship provided it made me want to pursue a career in the railway industry.


How did this route differ to what you were doing before?

At the UTC it was based on getting the required qualifications to get a place at university. However, over the years they’ve been integrating different companies into activities and tasks that they’ve done. This gives students a chance to see the working world and that’s how I come to learn about Network Rail.


How has the course helped you in your current role?

The way that these courses help me is that they help me to understand what’s being done by the teams and how I can contribute. At the beginning I was just observing and understanding little parts of what was being done, but now after I’ve been on my courses I understand more what’s being done on the systems and how I can help or improve if necessary. I really enjoy it because it means I can help and suggest new ways of tackling tasks.


Plans for the future?

To work for Network Rail and make my way through the business. When I finish this apprenticeship, I will be second in line to the team leader. I then want to make my way to be team leader and possibly go to university to get a degree.


Stephen Geer

Apprentice, Reading Maintenance Delivery Unit


Career history

I left college whilst studying mechanical engineering and worked in a factory during summer in a power generation company. After that I applied for the engineering apprenticeship at Network Rail. I first applied for it in Ashford but didn’t get the job. However, I later got offered a relocation in Reading.


What made you choose the apprenticeship route with Network Rail?

It was the best option available, given the qualifications I would come out with. It was a good idea to go with Network Rail because they have the best apprenticeships in the country, as well as the fact that university debt is unaffordable. An apprenticeship would be able to me the job experience, skills and qualifications I needed to become a technician.


How did this route differ to what you were doing before?

This role is much more hands on compared to what I was used to before, much more different to my previous work. Whilst working at the factory I felt it was repetitive and I was doing the same thing every day as it was production line work. However, I now do something different every day. I finished my three-year apprenticeship in June 2017.


How has the course helped you in your current role?

I’m currently a signalling telecoms technician. My learning consisted of a lot of practical work whilst on the apprenticeship. My second and third year had a lot of practical competencies and I was able to use a lot of what I’d learnt for my job on track. I specialised in signalling and telecoms, so my apprenticeship was tailored for this. I enjoy the work and being on front line forting maintenance as well as using the equipment required for the job.

I enjoy the team building activities and the opportunities I’m given, such as completing the Institute Leadership Management course. Apprentices are required to do this for all three years of their apprenticeship. During the first year we complete the level 2 qualification for Institute Leadership Management, moving onto level 3 in the second year. During our final year there’s classroom-based training for a week to complete the qualification. The course taught me the skills and qualities needed to be a good leader, as well as being part of a good team. When my team leader is off-sick or on annual leave I’m given the opportunity to lead the team.


Plans for the future

In the next five years I would like to be a team leader when I’m ready and opportunities arise. I like the idea of being out on track so would like to continue to work on the front line.

Contact information

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