Level 3 Engineering Apprenticeship – Application process and advice 

The Level 3 Engineering Apprenticeship Scheme at Network Rail is open to anyone who will be aged 18 on or before 29 March 2020. There’s no upper age limit.

To apply you’ll need at least four A*- C/ Grade 9-5 GCSEs (IGCSE’s accepted) or four Scottish Standard 1-3/National 5. These must include English, Maths and Science or Engineering.

We’re happy for you to apply while you’re still sitting your exams as long as you’ll have your results before the start of the scheme. There are also some medical and physical fitness requirements to ensure safety on the track. 

You will need to be available to start on 29 March 2020. All leave and holidays is scheduled by Network Rail.  We will be unable to accommodate any holidays or leave outside of the scheduled dates within the first 23 weeks of your apprenticeship.

Before starting your application, we recommend that you read this information:

We'd love you to join us but there are some minimum requirements you must meet. There are also a number of documents you need to have to hand. Please make sure you read the following information carefully before starting your application.

You must be aged 18 on or before 29 March 2020. This is to ensure we are compliant with Health & Safety requirements and regulations around shift patterns and working at night for under-18s. There is no upper age limit for the programme.

In order for a candidate to be considered for entry to the Network Rail Apprenticeship Scheme they must hold the following Academic qualifications:

  • GCSE English Language at Grade A*– C / 9 – 5 (English literature will not be accepted)**
  • GCSE Mathematics at Grade A*– C / 9 – 5
  • GCSE Science at Grade A*– C / 9 – 5 Or NVQ or BTEC Level 2 or above in an Engineering subject

And

  • One other GCSE in any subject at Grade A*– C / 9 – 5

*Please note that NVQ or BTEC Level 1 in an Engineering subject will not meet the required Standard

**English Literature will only be accepted as an additional qualification

Candidates can be considered for the Scheme if they hold equivalent qualifications to GCSEs at Level 2 or above.

Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English will be accepted. All 3 parts in English must be completed.  We cannot accept just English Reading or Writing.

The following qualifications are acceptable as equivalents (or above) to GCSEs:

  • Scottish National 5 or Scottish Standard 1-3
  • A Level at Grade A – E
  • AS Level at Grade A – E
  • O Level at Grade A – C
  • IGCSE at Grade A – C

To satisfy the requirement for ‘one other GCSE in any subject at Grade A* – C’ any of the following qualifications at pass level or above (merit or distinction) will be accepted:

  • QCF Functional Skills Level 2
  • NQF Key Skills Level 2 or above
  • NQF Higher Diploma
  • NVQ Level 2 or above
  • QCF Certificate and Diploma at Level 2 or above
  • BTEC Award, Certificate or Diploma at Level 2 or above

We will accept the equivalent qualifications from all of the UK countries. Please refer to the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education's guide to comparing qualifications in the UK.

You must show us the original certificates if possible. We can accept the statement of results letter you received from your school or college on results day providing they show actual results. Unfortunately, we cannot accept predicted results. If you need replacement certificates or a statement of results certificate, please contact the relevant exam board as soon as possible as the process can take several weeks. Your school or college will tell you who to contact.

If you gained your qualifications abroad: we will need a NARIC translation of your exam results before we can process your application. You can get one from www.naric.org.uk but please contact them as soon as possible as the process can take several weeks.

If you are currently in the process of sitting your exams:

You can still apply – however, you will need to contact us when results are announced to confirm that you have achieved the minimum grade in the subjects required. Any offer made in these circumstances will be subject to meeting our minimum academic requirements.

You’ll need to upload a copy of your exam certificates with your application form (including UK NARIC translation of any qualifications gained overseas) and show us the original certificates when you come for the assessment centre.

The application process

Complete our online Match-me quiz, which is designed to show you what it’s like to work at Network Rail and based on your answers we'll give you an indication as to whether you’re likely to be a good match for one of our roles or not. In order to take the quiz you will first need to register as a new candidate, however this does not mean you are under any obligation to go on and submit a full application.

If on completion of the Match-me quiz you are encouraged to apply for the scheme, the next step is to complete our short online application form.  There are no lengthy questions contained in the application form, it is mainly collecting your biographical data. This is followed by our Situational Judgement Test (SJT), which can be completed straightaway or at another time.

Take the match me quiz

What is the SJT and how should I prepare?

The SJT is a test which presents you with typical scenarios that provide you with a realistic preview of what you might face in the role at Network Rail.  It asks you to choose what you think are the most and least effective courses of action, from multiple-choice options. It is testing your natural ability to analyse situations and make decisions, your approach to working and collaborating with others, communicating with others and your ability to work through specific job related problems. It is not a timed test but there are right and wrong answers which assess your overall match for Network Rail against our pre-defined success criteria.

In order to work through the SJT as effectively as possible, you should try to:

  • Familiarise yourself with Network Rail and the type of work we do. You can’t really prepare for an SJT as it is assessing your natural judgement and decision making skills to determine your match to our organisation and culture. However, reading our website, familiarising yourself with what we do and details of the role you have applied for will help you when completing the test.
  • Make sure that you take time to read each scenario and the possible responses properly, as you need to understand the task or the situation in order to be able to give your best natural response. If you rush through the questions too quickly you may misinterpret something and therefore provide an incorrect answer.
  • We want to understand who you are and what value you will add to Network Rail. Don’t think about the scenarios for too long, it is more effective to read the scenario and go with your first reaction or natural response as to what you think are the most and least effective courses of action.

If you pass the SJT, we will review your application and successful candidates will be invited to a coaching interview which is conducted over the telephone. It is a compulsory step in the selection process, so be sure to attend the call.  We will ask you questions and give you information to find out how well you might fit in with our culture and values.  We will provide you with guidance to help you do as well as possible in the next stage of the assessment process – the assessment centre.  The coaching interview will last between 10-15 minutes.

The final stage in the process is an assessment centre; these will be held at various locations across the country.

You’ll be asked to take part in a group exercise and a face-to-face interview. It’s a chance for you to meet some of our senior leaders and current apprentices, to ask us questions and demonstrate your enthusiasm for a career at Network Rail. From our point of view, the assessment centre will give us a realistic picture of you, your skills, abilities and knowledge of our business.

We very much want you to be successful at the assessment centre and will do our best to make you feel welcome and as relaxed as possible.

It is important that you can demonstrate that you have an interest in Network Rail, the railway industry and that you understand who Network Rail’s stakeholders and customers are, so please do your research in advance.

Before the assessment centre:

  • Have a thorough read through of the information on our website (the main site, not just the apprentice careers pages).
  • Make sure you understand the requirements of the role you have applied to and the different types of projects you could be involved in.
  • Google Network Rail and read through any recent press articles etc.
  • Think about your strengths (i.e. what energises you and what you are naturally good at) and how you have used these to succeed in the past.

Think about how you:

  • Can demonstrate that you have the passion, enthusiasm and energy to make a difference?
  • Work collaboratively both in a team or as an individual contributor.
  • Make things happen – are you able to adopt a structured approach to achieving an objective?
  • Build relationships – can you work closely with clients and senior colleagues in Network Rail to ensure you understand and meet their needs?
  • Respond to change – do you enjoy generating new ideas and find the future exciting?
  • Use information effectively in order to make good decisions.
  • Can demonstrate that you have clear and effective written and verbal communication skills.

Network Rail is a company where every individual is able to succeed and is encouraged to reach their full potential within a culture that promotes diversity, inclusion and mutual respect. We value all our people and the contribution they make to the success of our organisation.

Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail

Network Rail applies positive action in our apprentice recruitment process.  Positive action is a range of measures allowed under the Equality Act 2010 which can be lawfully taken to encourage and train people from under-represented groups to help them overcome disadvantages in competing with other applicants.

Although part of your first year is spent at Network Rail’s Training Centre, you will be allocated a local depot. This is where you will be based for the remainder of your first year and the second and third years of the scheme. When you apply, we will consider you for vacancies at depots within 60 minutes travel time of your current home address. If you wish to be considered for a different geographical area, you’ll have the option of letting us know during your application.

So now you’ve read all the important information on the website and you’re ready to get going with your application.

Apply now

Check out our frequently asked questions below

We invest a lot in our apprentices because we want you to be the future of our business. There’s no obligation to stay, but we hope everyone who joins the scheme will continue to work for us after they've completed their three years and will have a long and rewarding career with us.

Yes. This scheme gives you an externally recognised qualification that is accredited by Edexcel, City & Guilds and ILM, which reflects the quality of our training. You'll also work towards a range of engineering qualifications that will help in your future career.

The safety of our people is important to us, so your training, on- or off-site, will always be supervised by established and experienced engineers. We also realise that you might be leaving home for the first time, so we provide for your safety outside working hours too.

Applications open on Tuesday 10 September 2019.  The scheme starts in March 2020.

Yes, we're able to meet any dietary requirements, including Halal and vegetarian. You just need to tell us at offer stage, so we can let the kitchen team know.

We invest a great deal in our apprentices in order to help them complete the programme. We want to know that you’re likely succeed before we offer you a place, which is why we set entry criteria. Specifically, we ask that you have four GCSEs at A* – C / 9 – 5. Primarily this is because you’ll take on academic study at the same time as working, and complete 27 work-based learning assignments and reports of at least 2,000 words. And, to complete the engineering side of the qualifications, you'll need a base understanding of maths and science.

Unfortunately, we can't accept all qualifications as equivalents. Although the level of the qualification is the same, the breadth and depth of content is not. To begin your apprenticeship programme at the same stage as everyone else, you will need to have covered GCSE content.

You will need to be within a 60 minute travel time of the depot you wish to apply for. If you wish to apply for a placement outside of this travel time, please let us know during the application.

The three year programme is designed to provide you with a mixture of practical hand on experiences whilst enhancing your theory and industry knowledge. This approach will allow you to gain an all rounded appreciation of engineering in the Rail industry supported with nationally recognised qualifications.