Network Rail plugs apprentice gap

At a time when the railway industry is still bemoaning the shortage of skilled workers, Network Rail is once again doing something about it. The company has just taken on another 190 apprentices to join its three-year programme, where they will train to become skilled maintenance engineering technicians, after the company received more than 6,500 applications.

The apprentices will spend a year training alongside the Royal Navy at Europe’s largest engineering training facility at HMS Sultan in Hampshire. There they will learn both the technical skills required to work on the railway and develop leadership and teamwork behaviours to make them more effective in their roles.

They will continue their training for two further years on-the-job at depots across the country, returning to HMS Sultan for additional courses and learning. The apprentices specialise in track, signalling and telecoms and electrification and plant. Once again, Network Rail will also be training a few apprentices for its contractors Balfour Beatty, Costain and Nexus.

Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s managing director for network operations, said: “We’ve recruited smart and enthusiastic young men and women with a variety of work experience, education and backgrounds, who we will train to become skilled engineering technicians. With the big projects we have ahead of us, we need more exceptional people to deliver a better value and efficient railway.”

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