1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My daily schedule consists of having breakfast at HMS Collingwood and then travelling on a bus to HMS sultan, the largest engineering academy in Europe. From 8:15 to 16:15 I complete academic studies which lead towards BTEC, NQ and ILM qualifications. This is done for a 9 Month period, living away from home.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
From having very little prior experience, I have managed to learn and absorb all the fundamental electrical and electronic principles required to progress to technician level on completion of the apprenticeship. I have also gained an insight into the interesting ways of the railway. Living away from home and sharing a room and classroom with people from all over the UK has also developed my social skills.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The programme has been reasonably enjoyable to date, although sometimes it feels like I am back at school once again, I have met new people and experienced new things. I predict the next two years will be far more enjoyable as I will be participating in work that is more relevant to me job role as I will be back at my depot rather than HYMS sultan.
4. How valued do you feel by Network Rail?
Network rail truly value their apprentices and clearly see them as the future of the company. There is a real effort to ensure everyone achieves what network rail has set out for us. There is a large investment in the apprentices and this is shadowed with great support. Managers are easy to approach when help is required, as are instructors in the academy.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The structure of the programme is very well organised. You know exactly what you are going to be for the 9 months at HMS sultan and Collingwood the day you get here. You receive a time table that clearly maps it out. There is the occasional hiccup, but this is expected with over 200 apprentices, these issues are swiftly resolved and the process runs smoothly again. Meal times and break times are always the same and well regulated to maintain queues etc.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The support received from Babcock staff is arguably second to none. They strive to make sure you complete assignments to a satisfactory level. They aim to make you understand the work you are doing rather than just achieve the criteria and be oblivious to what it actually means. They are always there to help when extra help is needed.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Support from Network rail is great, the HR staff at sultan book all our courses and travel tickets when required. They urge all apprentices to reach out to them if there is an issue. AS does the manager. You never feel like a nuisance when you ask for anything, they always try to accommodate reasonable requests.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary isn't the highest by any means. The first year is considerably low, However we do live away from home, with food and accommodation paid for. The second and third years could also be higher. Saying this the wage for an apprentice is very reasonable.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are mostly sporting opportunities outside work. Loads of sporting events are organised after work such as boxing, rugby and foot ball in the first year. A number of charity events also allow you to do things such as marathons and bike rides.
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
I would recommend anyone interested in engineering to apply to Network rail. The career paths are so diverse. The investment in the railway means great things are going to happen, it could be your chance to be apart of something great.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail? *
I would say be confident and be yourself. You must show your are a team player and want to succeed at everything you do. Be prepared to succeed at all you do. Show the interviewers you will be comfortable living away and you are committed to the job. Research network rail and know your stuff!
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