1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role as a telecoms apprentice is to develop my technical skillset, health and safety awareness and teamwork ability.
The initial 21 weeks of training at Westwood consisted of theory and practical courses which provided us with the essential knowledge needed before entering the railway. Opportunities for sports activities, charity and social events were available.
On a day to day basis at my local depot my role is to observe and assist the technicians, complete work based learning objectives and develop my knowledge of the railway. I have the responsibility of filling in a daily diary which will record my activity and achievements.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The practical courses at Westwood helped me learn new skills and develop my existing ones. Skills such as soldering, crimping and using various other methods of termination was covered, I was also able to develop my knowledge of basic electronic principles and Mathematics.
These skills provided me with an understanding of the Network Rail and legal standards when working on the railway.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The programme was enjoyable in most aspects, the training provided was organised and carried out thoroughly. There were catch-up sessions workshops which was very helpful.
The facilities at Westwood were maintained very well, we were able to play sports, use the gym and bar on weekdays. There was limited facilities to use during weekends.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
A timetable was provided at the beginning of the apprenticeship, it contained the courses, dates and room that we will attend to. Information and details were provided and were available online. The programme was well structured however the communication and handover between tutors could of been better as there was confusion in marking assignments.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Support was available from the reception, tutors and all members of staff. We were given one to one sessions regularly, online support and various contact details which we could use at any time. The staff were helpful and would point us in the right direction if they were unsure themselves.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
At Westwood there was a high work load that the apprentices had to cope with, the support given by the tutors and extra lessons were available. Tutors were willing to sacrifice their own time to help the apprentices, online resources were available if requires. We were also able to report to a member of staff if we were uncomfortable with the training or tutor.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The qualification provided helped me perform better in my role as it increased my technical skills, confidence and teamwork skills. Network Rail standards and rules were covered in the training and this has been useful whilst at depot. I believe that the training helped us work safely and efficiently which is what Network Rail aim for.
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.)
Social activities can be set-up by apprentices at their own will, resources will be provided if by the employer if the event is reasonable.
Sport facilities are provided and completions, activities and lessons are held throughout the week. This is includes swimming, football, gym workouts and other fitness sessions.
Workshops are held in craft-rooms and lessons such as car maintenance and catch-up sessions are available.
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
The apprenticeship programme provides you with great opportunities of personal development, theory/practical courses and career opportunities. The resources and facilities provided are great and support is always available. If you are willing to succeed in life then the apprenticeship scheme is one way of doing so. The benefits and perks of the job are great too.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
Network Rail have resources available on many different platforms, they are always publishing new reports, documentation and updates on their visions, goals and achievements. As a safety critical company Network Rail have many policies, rules and procedures that employees must follow, it is essential that you are aware of the risks you are taking before entering the job.
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