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Back to school: explore STEM

A career as bright and unique as you are.

“Now is the best time to be an engineer.” – Tara Scott, principal engineer, track

“Find what you burn for.” – Rikke Carmichael, head of air operations

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Dorota Durazinska, project engineer

With children returning to school across much of Britain, we’re encouraging pupils, guardians and teachers to encourage young people to immerse themselves in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects).

Why? Because STEM can open up an exciting range of opportunities in disciplines that are vital to our country’s future.

Skills gap

At Network Rail, we invite our employees to get involved with early engagement activities by becoming STEM ambassadors. These ambassadors support young people in developing their careers to help close the national skills gap in STEM subjects and predicted shortfall of engineers and technically skilled people in the transport sector.

The UK requires 124,000 engineers and technicians with core engineering skills across the economy each year up to 2024, according to a report, Engineering UK: The state of engineering. There is an additional requirement for 79,000 related roles, requiring a mixed application of engineering knowledge and skill alongside other skill sets.

However, the report anticipates a shortfall of between 37,000 and 59,000 due to the supply of talent coming through education.

Watch our flagship film all about the excitement and challenges in modern engineering:

Innovation and investment in engineering are some of the reasons job opportunities in the sector are better than ever.

Tara Scott, principal engineer, track, said: “Not only the innovation in research and development… Not only do you get to create your ideas, you’ll probably be able to see them put into track. If you join engineering now, you’ll get to see that innovation.”

Helen Warnock, an infrastructure maintenance depot manager in Kent, highlights the “sheer scale and opportunity” on the railway.

She said: “We’ve moved so far ahead with things like safety and the mechanics of how we do things. The opportunities to develop are huge, there are more schemes coming out onto the railway, whether you want to be involved in the digital side of things or mechanical side of things in renewals. It’s mind-blowing how much opportunity there is out there for everyone.”

What does engineering look like on the modern railway? Watch these videos:

We have our very own air operations team to help us maintain and develop the railway for passengers:

As well as engineers, we have huge numbers of technicians – they work on things like signals:


Our apprenticeships programme gives newcomers three career-advancing years that offer far more than an education. Find out about earning while you learn, qualifications and becoming part of the next generation of engineers.

Graduate schemes

Our standout graduate and placement schemes provide boundless opportunities.

Read everything you need to know about our graduate scheme, undergraduate placements and the application process here.

Operational team

Our huge and vital operational function delivers the services that ensure safe performance of the railway, including managing the systems and processes that keep the rail network working.

Work by the operational function encompasses:

  • Signalling operators in our regional Rail Operating Centres
  • Mobile operations managers and incident response teams that help reopen any part of the network that’s blocked
  • Level crossing managers and station customer service teams
  • Infrastructure maintenance.

Watch more videos about what it’s like to work in engineering:

Find out more:

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