1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a Signal and Telegraphs Advanced Apprentice. After completing 9 months basic training at the Network Rail training centre in Gosport I joined my depot at Swindon for on-the-job-training. This involves being placed with teams carrying various types of work and working shifts. I am currently with the fault team. We are supposed to be on call to deal any type of signalling problems they may occur but in reality we tend to focus on routine maintenance tasks mainly. I work closely with my team and sometimes with signallers and occasionally depot management. My role is to observe and learn from the guy's I am with. I have little contact with people outside of Network Rail
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Yes. Since starting I have acquired a variety of different skills including, but not limited to, electrical maintenance, reading technical drawings and circuit diagrams, working in variety of hazardous situations and various maintenance techniques connected with railway equipment.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy my work and varied experiences that go with it. Working with experienced people is enabling me to gain a lot of knowledge from their experience. It is difficult to say how the apprenticeship matches my expectation as I had had no previous knowledge or experience of the railway before joining. The Network Rail culture is very much focussed in safety and keeping the network running.
4. How valued do you feel by Network Rail?
I personally do not feel very highly valued. There is little communication with me from either the apprentice training centre or my apprentice master (it is questionable if really likes his job or apprentices).
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
what organisation? On paper, it looks good but the reality is that it is not being run very well. Since leaving basic training, I was supposed to return (to Gosport) every 3 months for a 3 week intensive training period focussed on my discipline. To date I have had only one session since September last year.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Support is negligible. My apprentice master is not at all supportive. The only help I really get is from the guy's I work with. I don't get any help from Gosport what so ever.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Since leaving Gosport I have had significant help and support from both my work colleagues and local management. My line manager is very good and even sent me on a 2 week signalling training course to Port Talbot which helped quite a bit.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary is not great but, as I live at home I am able to cover most of my costs including travel to an from work.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
No. This does not exist at my work place. When not working I am at home.
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
despite the somewhat poor training arrangements the company itself is good to work for and your are met with new tasks and experiences everyday meaning that there are few dull moments.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail? *
Don't be taken in by the recruitment spiel. Be proactive and be ready to push when you think you are not getting the support you deserve.
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