1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
On the Network Rail apprenticeship, I began my journey at Westwood in Coventry which is their training centre. I spent 20 weeks here and learnt different modules to do with basic Rail Engineering. We also completed basic functional skills tests in order to ensure we are able to cope with the work load and the future assignments/ work they give us. The accommodation and food is all provided and the facilities are amazing. There is a swimming pool, gym, bar and TV room which is great fun for the evenings... There is also a management course called ILM we complete over the three years which is very engaging and a lot of teamwork is undertaken during this course. You meet a lot of new friends over the 5 months you stay here and I haven't spoken to someone on the course who says they didn't enjoy Westwood. The team around you are very supportive and what's better than learning whilst earning your own money? You come out of the first year with more qualifications than expected and are able to build up first hand experience of the job role whilst being at your depot.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
ILM Management training Level 3 Engineering award NVQ2 in Performing Engineering Operations
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the programme because the training is brilliant. They are engaging and the assignments are given at a steady pace which are all very achievable. They make learning interesting and you meet a lot of friends throughout this part of your career.
4. How valued do you feel by Network Rail?
Network Rail are one of the only companies I know that provide apprentice training like this and through this style. They value apprentices a lot because we are the future of the railway so they encourage us to do well by rewarding us with pay increases and bonuses.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
All the training is planned and set out through a timetable over the 21 weeks. Westwood is a very organised facility and the admin team do a great job making sure all the apprentices are where they are supposed to be during their course. We have an ADF system where they look after the apprentices by having catch ups and reviews about how the scheme is going for them. There is always someone there to speak to if you are feeling under pressure or stressed and Network Rail deal with this amazingly.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The support given is always available 24/7. Even when you go back to your depots the line managers will be there to support you throughout your journey. There are email services where you can contact anyone at Westwood or you depot for support.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
They have recently increased the apprentice wage which has made me feel very valued. They provide ample PPE and ensure we are safe and happy with the facilities and services they provide for us.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I think we are very well paid as apprentices for what we do. At Westwood you can easily save money anyway because most things are provided for you. You can always have enough money to enjoy the weekends with your colleagues because everything is either a taxi or uber away from the facility.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
At Westwood there was a lot of goings on outside of work. For example, a lot of the apprentices raised money for Barnados and ran the Coventry 10K on a Sunday we were here.
9. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
Very good company to work for who value each and everyone of their apprentices.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
Ensure you are okay with living away from home.
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