1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a track apprentice, so there are a wide range of jobs that we carry out. Most of the time we carry out re-railing , which is basically replacing old rail with new rail. This job is vital to ensuring the longevity of the infrastructure. I will do the same jobs my team carry out.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have been able to develop my communication skills , this is a key skill on the railway as it is a safety critical environment. You need to be clear and confident in your verbal and physical communication to ensure everyone understands you. I have also developed my team skills as all jobs require a high level of effective teamwork to ensure the work is completed safely and effectively.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I really enjoy it, even the tough shifts! I also enjoy the balance between studies and work as both help you improve your personal development. It is also enjoyable because not all jobs are exactly the same, there will be a different challenge even if the outcome is the same.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
It is very well structured for your qualifications and competencies. Every few months I will go down to HMS Sultan to gain competencies that I can use on track. We are also given work books to complete to show that you are capable of using them. I am very aware of the milestones and when they need to be achieved by.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a great deal of support from my employer, especially through my manager. If I need anything I know that he will be able to assist me. If he cannot help me directly, then he will find out how or who can help me. This is also the case for my colleagues.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
They are always on hand to answer any questions you have regarding assignments. If you are putting the effort in they are always happy to spend extra time assisting myself and other apprentices. They are also understanding of your work commitments as well , so if you need extensions it is not a problem.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The qualification helps give me a better understanding of how things work or why they are done. It also makes you think about safety in a way that some of your colleagues may not. It will also enable you to develop the technical side of your job through the academic studies.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
Yes, whilst at Westwood completing the residential part of your apprenticeship there are many activities that you can take part in. There is an onsite gym, swimming pool and bar area with pool tables. You can also go out on weekends and socialise with your mates. When you get to depot, the usual extra curricular activity is going out with the lads.
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
It is a great company with many opportunities. There is a great focus on developing apprentices to take on future technical and management roles in the future. If you are willing to put in the effort, then you will be rewarded both financially and in developing a career in whatever roles choose.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
Make sure that you are willing to put 100% effort into all that you do and also be flexible with your time. You should also research the roles you are applying for to ensure that you know roughly how and what you want to develop. It can be demanding physically , so ensure you are in a position to develop your physical capability.
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