1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am currently in my first year as an Track Apprentice for Network rail. My daily routine is very similar to being at school/college, but this is only for the first 9 months, prior to being based at your chosen depot. Most days I spend at the training academy in lessons lead by the training staff completing my BTEC moduals or completing the more hands on NVQ courses.
Once, roughly every 2 weeks, 1 day will be spent at the accommodation site as a 'personal development day', these days involve a morning of working towards our ILM leadership qualification and the afternoon of fitness and sports.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Currently I am working towards my BTEC level 3, NVQ's and my institute of leadership management (ILM) qualifications.
I personally worried about the maths based moduals of the BTEC due to struggling with the subject at school, however, the majority of the staff here are especially proficient at breaking down the theory and making it extremely easy to understand.
The NVQ courses, such as technical drawing, bench fitting and maintaining mechanical devices were great to developing practical skills.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the programme, it does feel very much like being at school as opposed to working in the first year however I have found it to be quite relaxed and enjoyable as long as you keep on top of the work.
The teaching staff are on the whole extremely helpful, however, as with most places there are a 1 or 2 who you get the feeling would rather not be here.
The main taste you get of working for network rail comes during the network rail training week the 2 day depot visit in Feburary.
The first year has full met my expectations and will have given my qualifications which will have taken 2 year and above to get at college.
4. How valued do you feel by Network Rail?
During my visit of the depot I will be working at for the next 2 year, I was instantly made to feel part of the team and although I was only visiting for 2 days they allowed me to get involved with the tasks they had planned.
The network rail office staff are always friendly and happy to chat and help out with any issues or questions I have had.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is well organised, the first year is used to gain academic qualifications and the following 2 years I will be spending the majority of my time working at my depot as work based hands on learning. My time will be split 12 weeks at the depot and 2 weeks based at the training academy.
Support is always available for academic work and 99% of the teaching staff are happy to help you with any part of the course work that you may be struggling with.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Teaching staff are more than happy to provide extra support on the course.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The network rail office staff are extremely helpful and a pleasure to talk to. The office staff can genuinely always help you out and provide support for any difficulties you may have.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
In the first year the salary is £8616, which works out to roughly £650 every 4 weeks. This is effectively disposable to spend as you like because food and accommodation are provided. Travel is provided to and from work and travel home is provided for long weekends and holidays. Should you wish to travel home any other weekend then the cost is on you.
Once you start working at your depot my salary will increase to £12,055 but I will have the option of overtime. Then in the third year it will increase to around £14,000/£15,000.
I feel this is a good wage for an apprenticeship, given the opportunities that are available to you throughout and after the apprenticeship.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are many opportunities outside of working hours. Network rail have set aside a fund to use for social events which has been used for paint balling and various other activities.
A 24 hour gym in provided and there is plenty to do around the area.
9. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
I would because I feel that the opportunities to become a skilled worker and have a career for life are incredible.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
Once you get into the first year, the time will start to fly by.
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