Richard Turner has been appointed as Network Rail’s first dedicated head of apprenticeship delivery to develop new programmes and help widen access to careers in the rail industry.

In this new role, Richard Turner will create new career pathways into the rail industry, using apprenticeships to improve rail sector talent movement and diversity. Richard is responsible for overseeing Network Rail’s entire range of apprenticeship and graduate programmes, including its award-winning rail engineering technician apprenticeship scheme.

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeship delivery, said:

“Network Rail has a long history of running great apprenticeship and graduate programmes, and our early careers offering is only going to increase over the next few years.

“My role will be about giving some of that growth direction, to work with business areas and industry partners to create exciting career paths for future railway professionals, and to make sure our apprentices get the best possible experience they can have.

“We need to be recruiting and training apprentices today so that they’re ready to maintain and operate tomorrow’s railway.

“Apprenticeships also offer an opportunity for existing railway employees to re-skill or up-skill as new technologies enter the workplace. Simply put, our apprenticeships programme safeguards the future of railway infrastructure, operations, and workforce.”

Apprenticeships are central to Network Rail’s skills development strategy, and the company is a supporter of reforms to make apprenticeships more flexible, to attract people of all ages and backgrounds and to give employers more input. Network Rail currently offers more than 40 apprenticeships, including schemes for existing employees.

Network Rail’s award-winning rail engineering technician apprenticeship scheme offers opportunities in many different disciplines such as signalling, telecoms and track. Over 2,500 apprentices have completed the scheme since its inception in 2005, with more than 83 per cent of these still employed with Network Rail.

The company is set to increase the number and range of business apprenticeships that it offers. In addition to the rail engineering technician apprenticeships, Network Rail offers degree-level engineering apprenticeships as well as programmes for corporate functions such as accounting, HR, project management and commercial surveying, all leading to professional qualifications.

Network Rail also has exciting apprenticeship opportunities in other parts of its business including cyber security and digital railway as it seeks to recruit and train people in the skills needed to meet the changing face of a modern railway.

Notes to editor:

  • Applications to the Network Rail engineering technician apprenticeship scheme are open until March 2019. See networkrail.co.uk/apprentices
  • Richard Turner joined Network Rail from Virgin Trains West Coast, where Richard had responsibility for the company’s training and development including apprenticeships, managing the Virgin Trains Talent Academy in Crewe.

About Route Services

The Route Services function supplies Network Rail’s route businesses with critical services they decide are best provided from a national team. This includes IT services and equipment, training, supply and operation of Network Rail’s rail fleet, materials including rail and ballast, contract management and procurement, and shared services including finance and HR. Working as a single, service delivery directorate, Route Services allows Network Rail to benefit from economies of scale and greater efficiency from specialised delivery.