Network Rail is looking for 11 new apprentices for its award-winning engineering apprenticeship scheme to start in March next year.
The scheme is open to applications until this Friday (22 September), 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 will have the opportunity to work on the ambitious Railway Upgrade Plan, providing plenty of opportunities for budding engineers to get stuck into a wide range of projects transforming and modernising the railway around Wales and the borders.
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.
Andy Thomas, Network Rail’s route managing director for Wales, said: “Network Rail’s apprenticeship scheme is a great opportunity to gain valuable paid work experience, transferable skills and recognised qualifications in one of Britain’s most exciting industries. Our people are our greatest asset and central to delivering for our customers a safe, reliable, affordable and growing railway, connecting communities with each other, connecting people with their jobs and supporting economic growth more broadly in Wales and the borders as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.”
Ed Aston joined the scheme fresh from his A levels in 2013 and is now a qualified technician following a three-year apprenticeship based in Hereford. In September, he will start a higher national certificate (HNC) in railway engineering in Sheffield Hallam University, also funded by Network Rail.
He said: “The most important thing I have learnt is the sheer scale of the task to keep the railway running, not only now but for years to come. I never realised this before or appreciated just how much knowledge and experience there is in the rail industry and how much this is needed to keep the railway working. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone. You get hands on training, real experience in the workplace and get paid at the same time.”
David South, from Abergavenny, joined Network Rail as an apprentice in 2007. He now works as a planning assistant in Cardiff after completing his apprenticeship and working in technical support.
He said: “I’d encourage anyone who is leaving school or wants to change career to go for it and think about an apprenticeship. Network Rail is a massive organisation with a lot of good people. You’ll make friends for life both on the apprenticeship scheme and in your career afterwards.”
Snowy Worrad is coming to the end of her first year as an apprentice. After working as a security guard and door supervisor going back to school has been a refreshing change.
She said: “I’m working as an apprentice signals maintenance technician based at Port Talbot and this is much more exciting than my previous roles. I wasn’t sure about applying for the scheme but when my family moved from Cheshire to South Wales it seemed like the perfect time to apply. I was a bit concerned about living on an apprentice wage and being away from my partner and children, but it’s an investment and I know by the end of the scheme I will come out with great experience and qualifications. Working at my depot has been the best bit of my first year, my managers are really supportive and the teams I’ve worked with have been really patient and keen to explain new things.”
The 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%.