Network Rail apprenticeships up for grabs as record investment in Britain’s railway continues: Katie Tingle, section manager of the Mobile Maintenance Train

Friday 29 Jan 2016

Network Rail apprenticeships up for grabs as record investment in Britain’s railway continues

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Former Derby-based Network Rail apprentice Katie Tingle is encouraging people to apply early as the company's popular and award-winning Advanced Apprenticeship scheme opens for applications. 

Network Rail is looking to recruit 150 apprentices nationwide as it continues to deliver its £38 billion Railway Upgrade Plan. Last year, it received more than 3,500 applications for the scheme. Apprentices will be part of the 20,000-strong orange army of front line engineers and technicians who fix and maintain the rail infrastructure, enabling 1.6 billion journeys every year.

The three-year Advanced Apprenticeship scheme offers young people over the age of 18, a chance to earn while they learn, while gaining valuable work experience, transferable skills and recognised qualifications along the way.

The scheme was launched on Thursday 28 January as the Government announced its commitment to 30,000 apprenticeships across the transport sector over the course of this parliament as part of its Transport Skills strategy.

Katie Tingle completed Network Rail’s apprenticeship scheme in 2012. Katie and her team of 11 are responsible for running the newest Mobile Maintenance Train (MMT) or “workshop on wheels”, which is revolutionising the way in which track maintenance is carried out, out of Derby. The MMT‘s key feature is that it allows workers to operate within an enclosed environment protecting them from the elements and other trains and allowing engineering work to take place without having to close the whole line.

Katie said: “Joining the Network Rail apprenticeship scheme was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Not only did I get paid to learn, I now have a career that I love. I’ve been given so many opportunities, and bringing this new, ground breaking piece of machinery to my home town depot is one of the highlights.

 “An apprenticeship can give you a lot of extra life skills as well as just the specific expertise you set out to learn, for example I’ve learned how to budget and manage teams. You’ll gain knowledge you’ll be able to use wherever you end up. I would advise anyone who wants a rewarding a career, and the skills and qualifications you need to get on to sign up. You won’t regret it.”

Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said:  “Bringing bright, young talent with fresh thinking, enthusiasm and dedication to our 35,000-strong team is a critical part of how we will deliver our Railway Upgrade Plan and make our railway bigger and better as it becomes ever increasingly busy.

 “We want talented and capable young people who want a job where you make a difference every single day as we continue to build a better, safer railway for now and for the future.”

This September will see the Advanced Apprenticeship scheme move from its naval base at HMS Sultan in Gosport, Hampshire to its modern training and development centre in the West Midlands. Apprentices train in one of five specialist areas: track, signalling, telecoms, electrification and plant or overhead lines. They spend the first five months of the three-year scheme at the West Midlands training centre and then move to their local depots and learn through on-the-job training on the railway’s front line, gaining knowledge and vital skills from experienced team members. This is complemented by additional off-railway learning at our training centres.

More than 2,000 people have joined Network Rail’s Advanced Apprenticeship scheme since 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.  The majority of those coming through the apprentice scheme also progress their career with Network Rail, with 85% of those who started on the 2005 Apprenticeship Scheme still working for the organisation.

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

Notes to editors

  1. Case studies of current and graduated apprentices from across Britain are available on request.
  2. The state-of-the-art mobile maintenance trains (MMTs) contain two built-in cranes to move heavy equipment, multiple power points and can carry all the tools and supplies that track engineers need, alongside a welfare area with kitchen and toilet.

The MMT’s key feature is the large, extendable canopy work area that allows access to the track below, provides cover, floodlighting and – crucially – protection from passing trains, reducing the amount of disruption engineering work usually causes work can be carried out on a section of track without having to close the railway next to it. This will limit disruption during the day when engineers carry out repairs, while allowing better use of the railway at night for freight trains carrying everything from high street goods and mail, to cars for export and coal for power stations.

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Network Rail press office - Toby Higgins
Senior Communications Manager (Transpennine Upgrade)
Network Rail
01904 383180 / 07850 406724

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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