1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an apprentice, once assigned to your discipline the daily tasks you do each day vary. As track, one day you can be surveying and the next day changing a sleeper. Doing all these tasks means you get a better understanding of what area you want to apply for a job in at the end of the apprenticeship.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Before joining I knew nothing about the railway industry. The course enables you to start by learning the basics of the railway so that when you get to depot you know the basics when on track, form there your knowledge and skills just keep on expanding as you do more tasks.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Every day is different, that is good as it keeps things interesting and fresh as well as making it feel like you are constantly learning. We are assigned with tasks books as well that are not overly difficult. All other employees that I have met are friendly and always happy to assist you when needed.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The structure involves spending your first 21 weeks in Coventry at Westwood, there you learn the basics of the railway as well as developing teamwork and leadership skills. After that you are at depot working with different teams and in between going to HMS Sultan to complete various training courses.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
There are constant progress review meetings so that any problems you have can be raised and resolved. Personally have a lot of support from my line manager and team members though I know of others yet to meet their line manager and can not get a hold of them when needed.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
At Westwood the trainers are always there so you can just go talk to them whenever you need to. The Network Rail trainers at HMS Sultan also allow help you are down there and also provide you with contact details for them if you need to contact them once you are back at depot.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The training received at Westwood, did not go into much depth with regards to the railway and they focussed on just getting the basic qualifications, that can result in you getting to depot and not feeling like you know enough. The HMS Sultan training however is very good and detailed and definitely helps when you are out on track with your depot.
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.)
Since joining Network Rail we have had a social night with our team. With regards to actual work I have attended a Apprentice Day where I met other apprentices from across my area all at different stages where we took part in different activities as well as doing a presentation each on our experiences
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
It is a career for life. The skills you learn across the apprenticeship scheme really set you out for a future in the railway industry. The benefits of working for Network Rail are also really good. Met some good friends through the course as well. Also you can see how much previous apprentices who have completed the scheme have progressed into higher roles within Network Rail.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
Definitely apply. If interested definitely research into the different disciplines first to get an understanding of what you want to do (can be found on Network rail website). From there research the railway and it will benefit you for when you get to depot as you will have a greater understanding when out on track.
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