1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Working in a team I'll be ensuring that the track system is operating to its optimum; this includes rails, sleepers and ballast that support the trains together with their associated drainage and ancillary structures. Starting off as an apprentice so far, I have had a broad exposure to everything before starting to build your career working through the technical grades. It's an all-weather, around-the-clock job, so basically I could be out day, night and at the weekends.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
- Social Skills - learning how to work with different people as well as adapting to change. This means working with one team to another. - Time Management & organisation skills - Learning how to prioritise things, diet and nutrition, being able to access information when needed. - Learning how to work under pressure and to meet work deadlines.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
To the extent that I would recommend the apprenticeship to anyone that's interesting in engineering and does not want to go to university and end up in debt. I have made some really good friends and loads of contacts from different parts of the country. I like how it started at Westwood, as it got me outside my comfort zone.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme itself is structured but not 100% due to lack of communication between Westwood & Line Managers at depots as some apprentices don't know what depot they are in etc. I believe there needs to be better communication between the training staff (Babcock) and Network Rail so that the apprentices have a better experience and advancement to their future. I believe having ex-apprentices coming in and talking to new apprentices will help them have a better perspective on how the railway works.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The support received has improved due to clearer and better communication between the me and my line managers. The classes will be taught by a team of experienced rail engineers and professional trainers. Some of them have been through the Apprenticeship Scheme themselves, so they're also a great source of information and advice.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
When I'm at HMS Sultan, my WDS answers any questions that I have and provides me with the relevant information to progress through the apprenticeship. I also receive additional support when needed by a learning assistant specialist, that helps me stay on top of the work that I need to do.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
By doing all these units, it gives me a better understanding on how engineering in the railway works. This also helps me to progress better to do more higher educational courses. Network Rail had provided apprentices access to Westwood which has bespoke engineering training equipment to meet the requirements of the EAL and NVQ qualifications that form an integral part of the programme. The mechanical and electrical workshops have been specifically fitted out to meet all the academic requirements and deliver a world class engineering training programme. We also have access to the leadership and management training facilities at Westwood which they will utilise to complete the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) level 2 programme.
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.)
Yes, inside and outside of work. Work Hard, Play Hard. Some depots might get even have a get together like playing football and its such a good opportunity as you get to know all your colleagues better and boost morale. Apprentices get together and organise sporting events charity runs, lots of fun. During your time off you’ll have access to the on-site facilities including the gym, swimming pool and squash court. In the local area, you'll find shops, sporting activities and plenty of nightlife, so you’ll never be short of things to do!
9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
Because it's a great way to start a career, Network Rail is such a big company with loads of opportunities and connections. It's really up to you on how far you want to go. It is also Nationally recognised, I have met a lot of employees that are happy in what they do.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
Research, Research, Research. It's even better if you know someone who works in the company. In addition to that, have a look at their values and what they stand for and how they provide a better railway for Britain. There are many engineering disciplines that you can choose from that are interesting and interlink with each other.
More from Network RailMore Reviews Company Profile
Get personalised jobs straight to your inbox
Save time job hunting - get tailored job opportunities sent straight to you!