Engineering apprentices from train operator, Northern, broadened their knowledge of state-of-the-art train production and gained valuable hands-on experience during a visit to CAF’s Newport facility in South Wales.
The five engineering apprentices were invited to the factory along with two CAF apprentice engineers who work at Northern’s Allerton and Newton Heath Traincare centres.
The group was given a comprehensive insight into the facility’s operations, encompassing all five production zones, and the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of CAF-built Transport for Wales Class 197 DMUs for the Wales and Borders network.
Mentored and supported by the CAF production team, the apprentices assisted with wiring cable looms, positioning internal equipment such as body panels and electrical equipment, and underframe equipment like bogies, fuel tanks, and brake equipment. This involvement saw a team of dedicated engineers impart invaluable technical knowledge and experience to enhance the professional development of the apprentices.
Darren Cumner, rolling stock COO said: “We were delighted to welcome the apprentices to our Newport facility to support their learning journey and enable them to experience first-hand the very latest technological advances in train production.”
Paul Wilkinson, Northern’s Engineering Apprenticeship Manager, added: “The CAF facility visit was a day to remember for our apprentices and an insightful learning experience.”
Feedback from the apprentices was extremely positive.
“Seeing a train come directly from Beasain, Spain, as nothing more than an empty bodyshell, through the processes of fitting all the systems of the unit to a finished product at the end is a truly remarkable experience,” said Jack Caulfield, Northern Engineering Technician at Allerton Traincare Centre.
“The efficiency and ethic of the workers is a testament to the ingenuity of the systems they are fitting and through seeing their work I have found a new appreciation for the CAF units we maintain.
“Seeing the multiple stages of assembly come together in unison was definitely valuable to my work as a technician.
“It was an enriching week, and I learned a lot about not only the trains and production, but also the industry as well.”
Jack Frances, CAF engineering apprentice at Northern’s Newton Heath Traincare Centre, added: “It was a great experience and for an apprentice a great way to gain further knowledge and understanding.
“As a CAF employee it gave great insight to the behind the scenes of what goes on when our units are being assembled.
“Being able to see the production process gave me better understanding of how the 195 units I work on operate and why they are assembled in the way they are.”
Since the visit, all five of the Northern apprentices have completed their apprenticeships and are employed as fully skilled technicians at the Allerton, Neville Hill and Heaton Centres. The two CAF apprentices are in the final stages of their apprenticeships and will continue their employment at the Newton Heath and Allerton depots after qualifying.
Image credit: CAF