1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an Apprentice for Network Rail which will qualify me so that when I complete the apprenticeship I can apply for technician grade roles. My daily tasks can involve all sorts of work, mainly on a day shift we do survey work and patrols checking the infrastructure for and defects that will need to be rectifying and just ensuring that our records are kept up to date. More of the actual physical work will take place during a night shift where any defects that were found during a day shift can then be rectified whilst there are no trains running.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
When I applied for the apprenticeship I was given a list of disciplines to choose from, since I had been studying electrical installations at college I decided the best option for me was electrification and plant as this fit best with my previous experience. So by doing this I am now putting my skills to good use and at the end of the apprenticeship I will have gained an electrical installation qualification which is the same as I would have got at college however now I am getting paid to complete it. There are many different courses that can be taken externally as well which are slowly offered to you during the 2nd and 3rd years which will be offered to you if they are felt necessary to your role.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have enjoyed this programme as it has given me a opportunity to learn whilst getting paid as apposed to say going to university where you have to pay to be taught and I have meet lots of new people as we are moved into a Naval base for the first year of training with all our fellow apprentices.
4. How valued do you feel by Network Rail?
I feel I have become a valued member of Network Rail and feel that coming through the apprenticeship we are seen as a new generation as we are being taught a lot about the companies values and strategy's whilst we are in training which you wouldn't get if you went straight into a role within the company.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I believe that the first year could have been structured better as there was a lot of uncertainties as to what was going on with the training. However the scheme has now changed and moved to a new facility and I would like to hope that the problems that I had as a first year have now been rectified meaning that it is a much better apprenticeship for up coming apprentices.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Now that we have completed our first year our training provider Babcock don't have much interaction with us anymore as they completed their role with us after the first year. The second and third year is taught by Network Rail and this is where we begin to get a better understanding for the railway and what our roles consist of.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Whenever I run into a problem I can speak to almost anyone within the company and they will be happy to help. Depending on what the matter is I know that I can freely speak to my manager also and he will help rectify the issue the best he can. As an apprentice you don't really see much more behind the scenes as it is all kind of taken care of for you.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I was offered a job in London and that is a 1hr30m train journey from my home town. At the time I thought getting my name in the company was worth the cost of travelling and being Network Rail there would be at least a discount on travel. However there is no discount for travel unless you buy a yearly ticket and since I am an apprentice and change locations regularly it wasn't beneficial for me and this means that my travel costs actually take up most of my wage leaving me with a barely liveable wage.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Network Rail has a very good benefits programme which offers you very good discounts on things to do whilst not at work which is very good. However there are not many company events or activities to take part in and especially so that I have not taken part in anything of the sort anyway.
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
I would recommend this apprenticeship to anyone as you are going to be put up in accommodation and fed for year which means essentially no living costs. You get paid to go to what is essentially college which means no student loans and at the end of it you will be able to apply for a good high paid role which will be a lot more than if you was to go straight into the company.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail? *
The application process is quite lengthy a lot of questions and tests to take part in, you will then be invited to an interview in which you will have some more tests and team building exercises to closely see how you work with others as this is a big part of the apprenticeship. after that if you are successful you will receive a phone call offering you the job and you will be well on your way. Unfortunately I cant say if this is the same process now as the apprenticeship has recently changed this year.
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