Our project management scheme for graduates

Who you are

You’re a self-starter with a strong work ethic. You have an inquisitive nature and are not afraid to challenge the way things are done. You’re able to present and communicate alternative ideas in a clear and confident manner. With strong organisation skills, a cool head and an eye for the detail, you’re able to solve problems with a calm and pragmatic approach. You enjoy working as part of a team and have empathy towards others.

How long is the scheme?

Two years

Where you’ll be based

Opportunities are available across Britain, at locations including London, York, Manchester, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Glasgow, but it is important to note that you will rotate at least three times during the two years on this scheme, and flexibility regarding the location of each placement is essential.

What you’ll be doing

You’ll work as a graduate project manager, exploring commercial, safety, and risk and opportunity management techniques, with exposure across several functions, including Construction, Planning, Strategy, Operations and Estimating. Your strong interpersonal skills will come into their own when you’re building relationships with your stakeholders.

You could be contributing to high-profile projects, through preparing presentations, reports, or managing key contracts. You’ll also gain a basic level of knowledge in engineering.

For 18 months of the scheme, you’ll undertake leadership essentials training – a six-module programme to start you on your leadership journey.

Entry requirements

2:2 in any degree subject

What professional qualifications could you gain?

Association of Project Management (APM) Introductory certificate with further APM qualifications after the graduate scheme. These are funded by Network Rail. Further qualifications may include the APM Practitioner, APM Project Professional Qualification (PPQ) and more. Other qualifications are available along with general training.

What opportunities are available at the end of the scheme?

Many graduates go on to apply for permanent roles such as project management assistant or scheme project manager. In these roles you’ll have the opportunity to undertake further qualifications such as the APM Practitioner and APM Project Professional Qualification (PPQ).

Why you should choose this scheme

During the first year you’ll have the flexibility to explore foundation project management skills that meet your own interests, as well as gaining a broader appreciation for our industry. Our project managers are highly visible across the organisation so it’s an opportunity for you to really make a name for yourself.

Hear from our recent graduates:

View our application process

Network Rail embraces diversity like no other. I have had an incredibly strong support network throughout the graduate scheme and this elucidates Network Rail’s second-to-none enthusiasm for developing individuals. Moreover, operational experience is just as important and integral to your role as working in the office.

Susan Alnajafi

How would you describe the breadth of Network Rail's work and the breadth of our opportunities for graduates? 

In many of the offices I've worked in and visited, there are extensive opportunities for graduates to immerse themselves in projects, both in development and delivery. If you are willing to put in the effort and work, Network Rail is willing to double that effort. The work culture is reciprocal in every way. If you have the initiative and drive to excel as both a working professional and a valuable team member, the breadth of Network Rail’s work will not let you down.

How varied have you found your role at Network Rail?

I am fortunate to have worked for projects at various GRIP stages [Governance for Railway Investment Projects, or GRIP, is the process that Network Rail uses to manage developments to enhance or renew Britain's rail network]. My initial placement looked at the development stages of the project life cycle, while my second placement focused heavily on delivery and construction.

With an undergraduate degree in Spanish with English Literature, I had concerns about the gaps in my railway knowledge; this was rectified quickly. I have learnt much more than I expected on the graduate scheme, both in terms of the railway and project management skills that can be applied professionally and personally.

What's the most exciting work you've done here?

I simply cannot single out one exciting event. ‘Excitement' is the word I would use to encapsulate the graduate scheme as whole. Having studied at King’s College London, I was always wondering what went on behind the huge fences around London Bridge Station and how Waterloo station was being run.

Here I am now, a year on, having worked at Waterloo station and currently working behind those fences at London Bridge on the £6bn Thameslink Programme, witnessing it all at client level.

As a graduate, you are encouraged to carry out mini-placements in other areas of the business to gain exposure to the industry as a whole. I have carried out mini-placements at HS2, King’s Cross station and Crossrail, an experience I would recommend to every Project Management graduate.

What's been the best thing for you?

Working for a company whose projects are timeless and universal, and seeing them all come together. Network Rail embraces diversity like no other. I have had an incredibly strong support network throughout the graduate scheme and this elucidates Network Rail’s second-to-none enthusiasm for developing individuals.

Moreover, operational experience is just as important and integral to your role as working in the office. Experiencing work at office and site level has pushed me out of my comfort zone and showed me the importance of Network Rail’s Lifesaving Rules.

Why Network Rail?

The future of the railway is colossal. I would like to believe that my role as a graduate has contributed towards a safe, excellent and efficient railway for Britain, where everyone gets home safe every day. To be part of such a busy adventure, where no day is the same, I wouldn’t think twice.

How would you describe the breadth of Network Rail's work, and the breadth of our opportunities for graduates?

The impact of Network Rail’s work reaches throughout Britain, and the scale and number of projects means that the opportunities for graduates are huge. The railway requires renewals and enhancements on stationstracksignalling and so much more, and the range of skills and knowledge required for the success of these projects means that there is a lot to get involved with. As a graduate, we have the flexibility to move around and work on all kinds of projects.

How varied have you found your role at Network Rail?

Projects are continuously evolving and there are many different aspects involved. In my role I've been involved with Project Management, Commercial, Engineering and more – on site and in the office – so the work is different day to day.

Additionally, we have the opportunity to go on mini-placements across the business and around the country. The experiences I had ranged from a night shift in Doncaster, watching a mechanised track renewal system, to spending a week behind the scenes with a train operating company between London Marylebone and Birmingham.

What's the most exciting work you've done here?

Being part of an intense week of construction on Crossrail West really showed me what Network Rail was about. I was working during nights on the commissioning of a new bridge to carry trains. This involved heavy machinery, lots of materials and hundreds of people working around the clock to have the track ready for commuters on the Monday. Walking along the tracks and observing it up close was exciting and really gave me an appreciation of the level of work that goes into the railway.

What's been the best thing for you?

The level of opportunities, training, facilities and support available on the graduate scheme was a great way to start my career at Network Rail. There’s so much to get involved with and as a graduate you have the freedom to seek out what you want to do.

Why Network Rail?

Delivering projects that affect some of the millions of daily passengers who use Network Rail’s infrastructure means my work has a real impact on people’s lives and helps keep the country running. The size of the company means there are plenty of opportunities to gain experience and develop my career as a project manager.