Opening our doors to future railway employees

Two apprentices working in breakout area of training centre

Doors across the railway will open to aspiring employees this autumn.

Our latest efforts to find the next generation of railway staff come as the proportion of young people studying related subjects at A Level has soared this decade.

In October we will give students the opportunity to find out first-hand what it’s like to work at the owner and operator of some of Britain’s biggest infrastructure by holding insight days at Network Rail and rail operating centres.

Our events will include tours of our training centre in Basingstoke, complete with an indoor railway track designed for technical exercises (pictured below).

We will also run an open day at one of our depots and career development sessions in Anglia - home to some of our biggest projects within the Railway Upgrade Plan, such as Crossrail (pictured below).

Mentoring

We have a longstanding relationship with Loughborough University where Network Rail employees have offered mentoring to students. Members of Cultural Fusion, our employee network celebrating workforce diversity, hope to provide valuable guidance to young people interested in working in the rail industry throughout the school year.

We also regularly attend careers fairs at Loughborough and run skills sessions focused on areas such as interview techniques.

20 by 20

We aim to increase our proportion of female staff to 20 per cent by 2020 so we’re taking part in a string of events aimed at women.

These include Future Female Engineers, networking events held in London in November and June for women studying subjects related to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Future Female Engineers aims to help students build their professional network and meet recruiters. At the same event we will host networking sessions with 80 female engineers.

Other women-focused events we’ll attend in October and November will include STEM Women in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Bristol.

STEM interest surges

The proportion of those entering A Level exams in STEM subjects has increased by 24 per cent since 2010, according to the Department for Education. The proportion of girls taking STEM A Levels has grown by 26.9 per cent over the same period.

This year, 36.2 per cent of all A Level entries were in a STEM subject, an increase on 34.5 per cent in 2017, according to the Joint Council for Qualifications, a qualifications trade body.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “We are boosting skills in science, technology, engineering and maths and reforming technical education so that we can rival the world’s best performing systems.

“We are working with industry to further improve the number of people taking these important subjects… so that we have the workforce we need to be fit for the future.”

Government-backed initiatives aimed at making girls aware of the range of STEM-related careers include the STEM Ambassadors Programme that brings STEM business and industry representatives into schools.

Inspiring women in engineering

The history of women on the railway

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