• 1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
  • I am training to become a signalling technician. This involves responding to a variety of faults that occur on railway infrastructure. This can also include regular maintenance of track side equipment. This can vary as the amount of trackside equipment is not just substantial but also diverse. At least two days a week are somewhat different to the regular testing and inspection you would carry out. Plus, you have to carry these out in new areas, bringing more variety to the job.


  • 2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
  • Certainly, before the apprenticeship I had not done much in the way of technical work but through this apprenticeship I was given the confidence and knowledge to tackle problems both in a team and independently. The ability to attend a fault, diagnose the issue and understand and complete repairs/maintenance is very rewarding. Knowing because of your actions commuters and travellers can get to where they need to go.


  • 3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
  • The programme is very fulfilling and develops individuals drastically. I feel I am a better person for taking this apprenticeship as it gives an opportunity to learn at every corner and teaches valuable skills. Staying residentially at Westwood allowed me to make new friendships and H.M.S Sultan provides an excellent training scheme.


  • 4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
  • The structure is very good. A mixture of learning theory and working towards an NVQ at Westwood and regular depot visits provides a dynamic, changing work load that is evenly spread and as taxing as you allow it to be. Keeping up to date with work allows for plenty of free time. The fairly frequent travel keeps the experience feeling fresh and varied.


  • 5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
  • Network Rail provide much support to their apprentices. The ADF's (Apprentice development facilitators) are almost always available should help be required. They try there best to provide support to those who need it and ask you attend performance reviews every now and again to ensure you're on track and no problems have arisen. Network Rail offer support in other ways too such as the validium mental health hotline and many other services.


  • 6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
  • Babcock give the needed training in order for you to pass the NVQ portion of the apprenticeship. It is delivered during the stay at westwood and the instructors make an effort to ensure each pupil passes each module. For those who need it, extra support is given and flexibility is always available depending on the circumstances you face.


  • 7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
  • The training provided is often related to the work on the railway where possible however the NVQ is specific in what training must be provided and so the subjects are not always directly applicable to the railway. However, this is a result of the government outlining what must happened with NVQ based apprenticeships. On the whole the training is relatable to work you will go on to 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.)
  • Westwood make an effort to organise house teams and from there, by liaising with the ADF's (Apprentice development facilitators) you can set up events. For example, during the time I've been at Westwood a 'Pub Quiz', Fifa and Poole tournaments have been hosted and have heard that sometimes if the stars align and the British weather becomes warm, BBQ's have been hosted.


  • 9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
  • Yes

  • 9b. Why?
  • Time and time again I hear the same line on the railway "It's a job for life" and no matter how many times you hear it the railway really is. In days such as these a long term job with paid training, plenty of opportunity to progress, an excellent benefits and pension package and most of all a job that I personally enjoy is almost impossible to come by. I would recommend this to anyone with a positive attitude and work ethic.

  • 10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
  • Just be yourself at the assessment centre stage. At first it can be daunting but there are plenty of assessors there and if you make an effort you will stand out. You must approach this job with an open mind, especially if coming straight from school/college as it is a completely different experience. Network Rail are a company that recognise hard work and effort so if you try hard you will get noticed.


Apprenticeship - Advanced Level (Level 3)

Engineering & Manufacturing


March 2020

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