1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a S&T apprentice who works in the signalling side of the railway. I carry out lots of maintenance and also do fault finding when I am called out to do so. Maintenance could be testing voltages to then performing basic tasks like changing a bulb. Faults are different each time and are either repaired or replaced.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt a range of new skills whether that be on the job or at the training and courses provided. I have gained skills how to perform AC and DC earth and busbar tests safely and correctly. I have also learnt new people skills as I have had to work with new and different people.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the program. I had always wanted to be an engineer and to be finally be hands on is great. Its a very hands on job and I like practical things so this is ideal. There's always something new to learn or see when attending faults which is good for moving forward.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
It is organised to a certain point. The initial part of the training down at westwood wasn't as organised as expected. Although they wanted to give independency, they didn't give us enough information and if so it was very last minute. Depo is organised but is organised differently to how I expected.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Network Rail as a whole is a great employer to work for and there are many benefits to it all. The managers are supportive and do try and meet or help with your demands. I feel like the managers could communicate a lot more but we have 12 weekly reviews which we can pass comments on via.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The training providers don't really communicate when not sitting through their training. They supported as much as they possibly could and even sometimes stayed back after hours to help. They hold the reviews every 12 weeks so they support in that way and will communicate any issues back to higher bodies to help improve your experience.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The training provided at babcock is very basic and is hardly used whilst on the railway. Saying that, they did teach us how to fault find so this helps when at cable faults on the track. Network rail provide training themselves which is very relevant to the job and helps me perform a range of tests out on track.
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.)
At depo there are no extra activities to be involved in, if so then I have not been made aware of these. when at the initial 21 weeks training at Westwood, there were plenty of activities to be involved in, all of which were mainly sporting ones. The depo is in a busy area need main roads so there is no where to do extra activities.
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
Network Rail is a nationally recognised company for how big and professional it is. There is plenty of opportunity for progressing in this company with so many different roles to integrate into. It has benefits like its pension scheme, discounted train travel and when qualified, is a well paid job. If you are a practical person, this job can be very hands on.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
Definitley apply and go into the apprenticeship/job with an open mind because it may seem very different when applying. However, it can be a very practical job and it reaps lots of benfits with so many different jobs to progress into or change to. Just work hard and learn as much as possible because the more you know, leads to more success.
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