1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role as signals apprentice is to carry out tasks under supervision, which will help me progress to becoming a fully qualified signal technician. As I look to progress throughout my apprenticeship, I will be given more responsibility. I will also be given small projects which will also aid in bettering my skills and giving me a better understanding of the signals that are used on the railway.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The skills that I have picked up so far give me a better understanding of how network Rail operates daily. I have also completed a Personal Track Safety course which allows me to go on track safety. As well as this I have also completed a DCCR course. This course allows me to work in areas with a 3rd rail. Finally, the first 21 weeks of my apprenticeship was spend down at Westwood. This training facility allowed me to build a platform to learn from.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Having just finished Westwood I have not really experienced much DU activity. However, I enjoyed my time at Westwood although towards the end of the training period I was glad to be leaving. This was due to there not being much to do outside of work.
4. How valued do you feel by Network Rail?
I feel valued within Network Rail because I have had frequent meetings with my ADF and tutors who gave me a better overview of how I was performing in my apprenticeship. As well as this whilst a DU the programme plan incorporates frequent meetings between me and my line manager, this is making me feel valued due to other people showing an interest in my performance.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme at Westwood was structured and organised however, I felt that because I was in a class that finished assignments early there was a lot of time sat around not doing anything. I fell that this time could of been spent learning about the railway or about my chosen discipline. As I have come out of Westwood with not much knowledge of how the railway actually functions.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Babcock is my training provider and I feel that they provide me with a lot of extra support. If I had any issues there was a member of staff on site who I could raise these concerns to as any time. As well as this I was under the supervision of an ADF who held regular meetings with me to see how I was working. These meeting will carry on throughout my 3 year apprenticeship.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Because my employer has not really had that much of an influence on my apprenticeship so far I fell that I can comment. However, the support I received whilst on my PTS and DCCR was very good and I could not fault how that was presented.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The first year salary does not meet my costs as I have had to cut back on a lot of things I used to do. I have come from working part time and in college to a full time job as a signals apprentice. But however, the money that comes in monthly has decreased. Whilst on residential training at Westwood the pay is not an issue as Network rail pay a lot of your costs however, now at DU all of them cost have come back.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Yes, whilst at Westwood there was house cup competitions going on which provided something to do every couple of weeks. However, the location of Westwood means it is often awkward if you do not drive to get out are do other sports.
9. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
I feel that the Network Rail apprenticeship scheme is a long term commitment. I have set my goals for 2 years after completing my apprenticeship. This is when I feel that you can truly progress and get responsibilities. As well as this, Network Rail Is a massive company moving in all directions, therefore, once you are in Network Rail you will be able to find a job that suits you due to them being involved in so many areas.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
Be confident and always think of Safety. Network Rail is a safety critical company which means peoples safety is at the heart of everything they do. Take this into your assessment days and look to take a step back when carrying out tasks and think 'is this safe?' if you take this into your assessment day then you will stand out as a good candidate.
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