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Apprentices join the front line to deliver £38bn railway upgrade plan

Network Rail

2 min read Partner content

Almost 200new apprentices have joined railway maintenance teams across Britainto start their on-the-job training after successfully completing their first year of the award-winning Network Rail Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme.

The apprentices have recently finished their first year of training at Europe’s largest engineering training facility at HMS Sultan in Gosport, Hampshire. There apprentices specialise in track, signalling, telecoms and electrification. During their second and third years they continue to earn while they learn and experience work on the rail network’s front line, gaining vital experience as they train to become maintenance technicians. Throughout this time they regularly return to HMS Sultan for further courses and training.

Neal Lawson, maintenance and operations services director at Network Rail, said: “We are investing £38bn building a better railway for Britain and to meet this challenge, we need highly capable people. By developing the enthusiasm and talent of our apprentices, we are creating the skilled workforce vital to our future success. I wish all of them good luck as they continue to build their skills and knowledge and help us move more than four million people across Britain every day.”

Eleanor Lawrence,18, is a signalling apprentice who has just joined her team in Basingstoke and is enjoying learning from employees who do the job day-in-day-out.  She decided to apply for the apprenticeship scheme having spent eight years volunteering on a heritage railway. “You earn as you learn and you come out with professional qualifications. It suits me perfectly”.

Network Rail’s Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme is open to applicants over 17 years of age and has no upper age limit. Apprentices come from all over the nation and range from those who have just left school or college to those changing careers. All share an interest in engineering.

As John Cheasley, a 30-year-old third-year apprentice from Petersfield, Hampshire says: “It’s a nice job and one where you can actually feel proud of yourself and know that you children will be proud of you in the future. This has changed my life and shown me my potential.” 

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