Tuesday 5 Feb 2013
Network Rail launches its 2013 apprenticeship scheme in Bedford
Young people in Bedford are being urged to consider becoming an apprentice with Network Rail as the company launches its 2013 advanced apprenticeship scheme.
A total of seven places are available on the advanced scheme in Bedford to work in an industry which transports millions of people every year and boosts the economy around the region.
“There are many paths to achieve a successful career,” said Martin Frobisher, Network Rail route managing director. “Whether you join straight from school or after college or work, the apprenticeship programme can be the first step to a challenging career.
“An apprenticeship can also open doors to a university education. While many apprentices go on to be team leaders and rise through the ranks, Network Rail also helps those who want to achieve further qualifications the chance to study part-time for a Higher National Certificate in engineering and then onto a foundation degree and a bachelors at Sheffield Hallam University."
Paul Bavington, a signal and maintenance maintenance engineer, is a successful graduate of the apprenticeship scheme. He said: “The apprenticeship programme will always come highly recommended from me. For apprentices, the most important thing is not to underestimate how big an opportunity this is. We have to make opportunities, and take those that we get."
For Paul, the key to a successful career is learning from more experienced colleagues.
”There’s infrastructure out there that’s 30 years old, and guys who’ve been working on it for 30 years,” he said. "You’re never going to get that experience, so it’s vital to ensure your relationship with these guys is great. Respect is the key thing."
Network Rail apprentices spend a year training alongside the Royal Navy at Europe’s largest engineering training facility at HMS Sultan in Hampshire. There they learn both the technical skills required to work on the railway and develop leadership and teamwork behaviours to make them more effective in their roles. For the next two years they learn their trade, working within an experienced team, continuing to return to HMS Sultan regularly for additional courses and training.
Mr Frobisher added: “We need a highly skilled workforce to meet the challenges of a busier network and focus on improving performance and increasing capacity. It makes absolute sense for us to develop the talent we have coming through our apprenticeship scheme to complement our experienced engineers. This pipeline of talent development will help us retain and attract more quality people, which will help us meet the tough challenges ahead to deliver a better value railway for the east of England.”
Notes to editors
Employees who undertake the two-year HNC part-time course, continue to carry out their roles within maintenance depots and elsewhere in the business. Network Rail pays for the university fees, accommodation and gives them time off to attend classes and examinations. It now offers up to 40 places a year to both those who have come through the apprentice scheme as well as those who have taken a different route.
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. www.facebook.com/ontrack
There are five engineering programmes: track, signals, electrification and plant, signal design, 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.
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.
In the first year, Network Rail will also feed, pay for accommodation and provide the clothing and personal protective equipment that they need – 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.
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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 4.8 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.