1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role involves assisting and learning from experienced team members, The job involves maintenance on signalling equipment and points as well as fault finding. The job requires working shift patterns which can be early starts, afternoon starts and night shifts as the role requires 24 hour maintenance of the track and signalling equipment.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I've only just recently started in my role but have already developed effective communication skills and problem solving. I have developed my confidence massively since starting the programme as there is a real chance of progression within the industry due to the investment in the rail infrastructure for future projects.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy coming to work and being able to enjoy my role and being able to socialise with colleagues. The role is different every day and presents new challenges due to the changing environment. Working outside allows me to maintain fitness which helps me in my personal life as well as work.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The program involves staying in the residential training centre in Coventry for 5 months, here you will learn about basic electronic principles and equipment before starting at your depot. When I started at the depot the team are helpful and assist you with any issues or questions you may have.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer supports me by helping me with my learning and encouraging me to question why things work, Network Rail also provide you with work wear and a pension scheme, as well as job specific training. The role is flexible and you have plenty of opportunity to book in holidays and work overtime to assist your wages.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The support provided is excellent as the training is delivered in an easy way for you to understand. Managers are understanding when you need to be released from your workplace for training. I have been given resources and rule books from my employer that help to give me and good background of the jobs I will be undertaking.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The qualification over the three years gives you the knowledge and confidence to perform in a safety critical role, under time constraints. The qualification gives you a broad range of knowledge and during the apprenticeship you get to experience every aspect of the rail industry from track work to maintaining signalling equipment, this gives you an appreciation for all different job roles and how they relate to each other.
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.)
There are opportunities to play sports and socialise during your time at Westwood training centre in the first 5 months of the programme. The company offer days for you to volunteer at your chosen charity if you wish to do so and there are plenty of networking opportunities and events for the rail industry.
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
Network Rail has a good reputation as an employer and since joining them I have not been disappointed! A lot of opportunities for career progression are available and if you put time and effort into the role then you are given them opportunities to progress. The pension scheme and working hours are a bonus as there are not many companies that can offer incentives and flexible working hours. I f you are willing to learn the staff have years of experience and are passionate about their role in the company.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
If you have any doubts about your ability apply anyway as the support is there from Network Rail and the training providers so you have the best chance of succeeding within your role. The rail industry is a rewarding career and has an exciting and secure future. If you are safety conscious, willing to learn and have ambition then the scheme is well worth applying for.
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