1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role within the Network Rail Apprenticeship scheme falls under the signalling discipline. My day to day activities are largely classroom based learning for the first year, with a view to working in my chosen depot through years 2 and 3. So far this year I have completed many NVQ units, most of which are relevant to my future role within Network Rail. These include mathematics and electronics based courses.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Much of what I have learned on the apprenticeship so far has been entirely new skills. Mainly the electronics based engineering and workshop skill builds. There is also an ILM course run by Babcock which has greatly improved my leadership skills and is capably taught by the dedicated babcock staff. I have thoroughly enjoyed this course, while not necessary to my current role, it is certainly useful for all my future endeavours within the company.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
While the living arrangements are not ideal, the classroom based learning environments are more than suitable. The courses are, for the most part, thoroughly informative and enjoyable.
4. How valued do you feel by Network Rail?
As an apprentice and potential asset to the company, I feel exceptionally valued and have been welcomed as part of a cohort of roughly 200 apprentices. As an individual, however, I have not felt particularly valued. However, I do not believe this is a fault of Network Rail. I imagine that I will feel more valued as an individual once I leave the classroom and start working in my depot as part of the team.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Despite imminent changes to the programme such as the moving of the scheme from Gosport to Coventry, the course has had a sound structure and we have been kept up to date on all developments and changes to the course.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
All support received from Babcock, our training provider, has been exceptional when required. I personally have made great use of Babcock's experienced staff.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I have not had the opportunity to receive any support of note from my employer as my first year is almost entirely run by the training provider. Unfortunately I can not comment on the support or lack thereof regarding my employer.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary for the first year meets my need for costs reasonably as food and accommodation are supplied by Network Rail, however the second and third year seem to be quite low compared to other apprenticeships of a similar calibre, and will be difficult to support myself throughout this.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There is plenty to do when we are not working, with events run by the apprenticeship coordinators, ranging from quiz nights and sports both indoor and outdoor. There is a lack of any study group activities, however these have been organised amongst ourselves, as the facilities to do so are available.
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
The career prospects of this apprenticeship heavily outweigh the few issues within it.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail? *
Take advantage of the experience that the teaching staff have to offer and take every opportunity for extra curricular events.
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