Network Rail’s Western route on the hunt for new apprentices: apprentices-on-track

Tuesday 21 Feb 2017

Network Rail’s Western route on the hunt for new apprentices


Network Rail’s Western route is on the hunt for 43 new apprentices for its award-winning engineering apprenticeship scheme for September’s intake.

The Western route will benefit from more of Network Rail’s advanced apprenticeship scheme placements than any other route, with 43 placements available to budding engineers across the south and south-west for this September’s intake.

Network Rail are currently undertaking the biggest investment on the Western route since the Victorian era, upgrading signalling to improve reliability, paving the way for bigger, faster and greener electric trains with The Greater West electrification programme and taking on the biggest engineering project in Europe with the construction of Crossrail.

The latest round of Network Rail’s apprenticeship scheme opened to applications last month for the September 2017 intake, offering a fantastic opportunity for young people and those looking for a career change to earn whilst learning, gain valuable qualifications and skills and build a career in engineering.

Apprentices complete the first 20 weeks of the scheme living and learning at Network Rail’s Westwood training centre in the West Midlands, partaking in a mix of academic work and hands-on practical experience.

At Westwood, apprentices benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and bespoke engineering training equipment to further their development, as well as a fitness centre, swimming pool and other recreational facilities.

Apprentices then join the team at a local distribution unit to learn and gain experience from experts in their field, as well as completing various technical and leadership training modules at Network Rail engineering training centres around the country to prepare for a career at the top of their profession.

For this intake, apprenticeship opportunities on the Western route based at distribution units in Reading, Bristol, Didcot, Truro, Newbury, Par, Plympton, Gloucester and Westbury are available.

Apprentices are guaranteed a job upon completion of the three-year course and more than four in five (83%) of those who started on the scheme a decade ago are still working for the organisation today.

Network Rail’s apprenticeship scheme also has a far higher retention rate than the national average for engineering. 75% of those that complete the scheme choose to go into employment with Network Rail, compared to the national average for engineering of 55%.

Network Rail’s Western route managing director Mark Langman, who began his career in the rail industry as an apprentice in 1986, said: “Our advanced apprenticeship scheme is a great source of pride for everyone here at Network Rail.

“The scheme has provided a springboard to many successful careers in the rail industry and provides a fantastic opportunity to be a part of the historic work we are undertaking on the Western route to modernise Brunel’s railway as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.

 “As part of the company’s diversity and inclusion strategy, we are committed to growing gender and ethnic diversity in our early entrant programmes and we welcome and encourage applications from all backgrounds.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of the Western route team, and I look forward to welcoming our new apprentices to the route in September.”

To find out more and apply for Network Rail’s advance apprenticeship scheme, visit:

Contact information

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About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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