1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Currently an apprentice on the Electrification pathway- about to finish the first year, which has mainly been classroom/workshop based and involved a mixture of academic and practical learning as we work through BTEC and NVQ modules. This is to equip us with the necessary qualifications and skills we need before progressing onto more on-the-job training in the next two years.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Have learnt new electrical skills from the NVQ units such as practical wiring and testing electrical equipment and circuits, assembling and testing electronic circuits, and maintaining electrical and electronic equipment/systems.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I like the varied nature of the course and really enjoy all of the practical work that we do. The theory that we learn provides a good background, though while it is interesting to discover more about how electricity and machines work, admittedly some of the academic work can be less exciting. However all of it assists with our understanding and is necessary for our qualifications. Our programme also includes personal development activities as part of the ILM qualification we take and it has been fun to try out all the different challenges as part of our leadership and team building problem solving tasks.
4. How valued do you feel by Network Rail?
I feel that we are valued because Network Rail make it clear that they invest a lot into their apprentices, and we are actively encouraged to challenge anything we do not agree with and given plenty of opportunities to provide feedback.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is very well structured- at the beginning of the course we receive our timetables for the entire year which lets us know exactly who our instructors will be, what we will doing each day and how much time has been allocated to each unit.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The Babcock instructors have provided excellent support throughout. They are extremely patient with us and we are constantly encouraged to ask questions to check our understanding and anytime we want some assistance they are always willing to help.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
A good level of support- we are all provided with development instructors as well as support officers who we meet with regularly, and we are also given the chance to organise social team building events such as paint balling or go karting etc if we would like to.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Though the salary is fairly low, for an apprenticeship it is reasonable, and probably better than most. In the first year our accommodation and food is provided which means that our living costs are mostly taken care of.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
This year there has been an onsite swimming pool, cardiovascular gym and weight room, and facilities to play sports such as football, badminton and squash. The accommodation blocks have TV rooms, and there is also a TV along with pool tables and table tennis tables in the common area. Most of the organised clubs have been based around sport, though there is plenty of scope for people to organise different clubs if they wish to and would be supported in doing so.
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
They are a huge company which is constantly working to develop and improve so that the entire country can benefit from a better railway system. The broad nature of the business means that are many opportunities for a lifetime career and there will always be more to learn. The advanced apprenticeship scheme provides a fantastic route for embarking on a new engineering career and Network Rail invest heavily in both the personal and professional development of their apprentices.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail? *
Keep an open mind, don't be afraid to ask questions, show that you are respectful of others and be willing to learn and embrace challenges and also try to find out as much as you can about the various different pathways.
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