1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Within my role, I am mainly there to learn, however I have a lot of input in terms of assisting my team and management with completing certain tasks ranging from engineering paperwork in the office through to completing tasks on track. Almost all work must be supervised due to competencies however doing these allow me to greatly increase my skill level.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
There are numerous skills that I have learned while completing my first year of learning. I have learned a lot of information about research, such as identifying correct information in the relevant places and accumulating and simplifying this information to be put onto paper/documents. I have also learned manual skills such as checking for twist faults on the track, how to use some tools and what jobs such as sleeper and rail renewal look like.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
the learning aspect of my program has been fantastic and very in depth. I have the ability to meet many new people who have had a positive impact both on my business and personal life. I have acquired many new skills and have had the opportunity to have a hands on experience using these skills in many situations.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The general structure of the program is fairly good, completing 6 months of academical work before going to depot to complete hands on work. The work completed in the first 6 months is set up well, however there were issues transitioning between the site of the first 6 months and getting to depot, Such as things being left far too late. Ordering PPE for example, and completing mandatory competencies such as PTS was left until roughly the last week or two when this could have been done considerably earlier in the first 6 months training.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
support provided to me by my employer has been thorough and in depth however this has been provided by the team around me, I have colleagues who are apprentices who have struggled to get the correct and relevant support. My own experience however has consisted of going out with a senior technician to be mentored on every job that the technician completes.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
the support provided by Babcock while at Westwood in the first 6 months was mostly good. When help was required, it was more often than not, provided in depth. Where tasks were requested with timescales etc that were not realistic, the team at Babcock were often happy to give extra time.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
At the present moment, the qualifications I have received have not had a huge impact on my current role as they were mostly not related directly to the railway. These were subjects such as business improvement techniques and maths. Over the next 2 years I receive more specific training that is directly related to the job that I do
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.)
While I completed my first 6 months of training there were different opportunities available such as football, badminton, swimming etc however since arriving at depot, the only things that can be done are charity events such as kilt walks and/or charity football games. Beyond this I am not aware of further activities
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
The level of training that is provided is fantastic along with the benefits both during and following the apprenticeship. Judging by the chats that I have had with existing members of staff that are in the positions that I would like to be in also, the experience as an employee seems to be very good! Well worth the three years of learning
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
I would suggest that anyone applying for network rail considers the job carefully as it does consist of many nightshifts and a lot of cold weather however it is a fantastic role and is a useful qualification to have. Very useful to have some engineering experience along with mathematical skills.
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