1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a Track Engineer Apprentice in my first year of my apprenticeship. On a daily business, I attend lessons that are designed to teach me the basic information and skills that I will need when I go out to my depot, that also form the basis of my knowledge and I will be able to build on this knowledge with practical experience whilst working.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt a lot of theories that I can use when I go out to work and I have been able to expand my pre-existing practical workshop skills whilst here. Each unit can be used to help me go into higher courses and qualifications if I choose to.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have enjoyed meeting new people from all walks of life within this scheme, and have made some new friends that I am sure I will stay in contact with. The ILM side of the course has allowed me to further develop my team leading skills and had helped build my confidence.
4. How valued do you feel by Network Rail?
I do feel valued by Network Rail as they obviously put a lot of time and money into this scheme to get the best out of their apprentices.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The start of this course was very organised and the lecturers were able to deliver brilliant classes and have a lot of time to make sure we understood the unit we were studying. However, as the training centre is moving location, lecturers are leaving and so the workload on existing staff is increasing and this has, on a couple of occasions, had a negative effect on the lecturers being able to be as involved as they were at the start.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
There is a lot of support from the staff here and they are always willing to help you with anything, if they can. Having said this, sometimes it can feel like a school like environment and I feel sometimes we could be allowed to self-manage more often.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Our employers have supplied us with additional support officers, who are there to help us with both academic and personal problems.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
It meets it very well, as Network Rail pay for our food and accommodation, meaning that our salary is our own.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
We are given full access to the sports facilities near our accommodation, and there are house events and quizzes put on on an evening. There hasn't really been any community or volunteering work that is linked to the company shown to us.
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
They are a fantastic company that clearly value their employees and want the very best out of them. From day one we are told we are employees of Network Rail and this is instilled in us with the Life-Saving rules and the behaviours expected from the company. We are also kept up to date with what is happening in the company, out at our depots too, via cascade meetings and this helps to make us feel more of a part of the company.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail? *
Don't be intimidated by the application process. It may seem like a lot of hard work, but it is just the company's way of making sure that you're right for the job. Be prepared to meet new people - you meet people who have very different life experiences to you and it has been a pleasure to learn things from them and prepare for a big sense of community. There will be times when you don't get along with everyone on the course, but you are all in the same boat, so just support each other and it makes your time in the first year so much easier. I'm so glad that I have met the people I have as they have made this experience easier when it got hard and much more fun. If there is something you would like to try or start up (sports team, days out etc) just ask. We have had transport and food put into place for us when we have asked to do trips out and to go and support the company's football team at matches.
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