Apprentice Signalling Engineer at Network Rail

Start Date:
Programme Type:
Apprenticeship - Advanced Level (Level 3)
£8,400 competitive
Review Date:
April 2015

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1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


Apprentice Signalling Engineer Year 1 involves living on a Naval Base and learning basic electrical circuits, how to test circuits and various other subjects to obtain a BTEC level 2 and NVQ level 2. This also includes doing a course for the Institute of Leadership Management (Level 3 by the end of the 3 years) years 2 & 3 involve working at specific depots to gain experience and knowledge of all aspects of the chosen discipline. Roughly every 3 months for 3 weeks (for signalling) required to return to the naval base to complete courses specific to the discipline. Currently I work with an installation team for Signalling which means new signal heads, point machines, cables, etc. are installed by us.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


BTEC level 2 and NVQ level 2 in Electrical Engineering (rising to Level 3 at the end of the 3 years) ILM level 2 (Rising to Level 3 at the end of the 3 years) Will complete rail specific courses to my discipline (SEM1, SEM2, Point Fittings, HWs, RCPL, SMTH, Barriers, Axle Counters, RRI) all leading to qualify at technician grade with in the Railway. Have learnt a huge amount about the industry, the principles of electrical and mechanical signalling and has led me to want this to be a career for life.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


Thoroughly enjoy working on the railway, the type of work is incredibly diverse and the people are great to be around. The company culture is all about safety and the "Life Saving Rules" implemented to ensure "Everyone Home Safe Every Day" The whole apprenticeship exceeded my expectations, having worked on the Underground before I expected Network Rail to be much the same but everything is far better. The qualifications I am able to achieve are fantastic and I will be able to take my new skills and experiences with me wherever I go.

4. How valued do you feel by Network Rail?


We are the future of the Railway and thus Network Rail invests heavily in ensuring we get all the help we need and to bring the best out in all of us Apprentices. 12 week reviews help to inform us of where we are in terms of work and knowledge and progress. Always involved with all of the work, if I do not understand people will take the time to explain how something works and are patient with doing so.

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?


The structure is clear and concise, the entire plan for qualification with how to achieve them and what needs to be done is laid out simply to follow. The training is clear to the job and is always helpful. Support is provided always, either by the team you work with in years 2&3 or by the apprentice coordinators/instructors. 12 weekly reviews are also a great way to be able to judge personal progress.

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?


Lots of support from instructors within the Naval Base and from the team I work with at my depot. Everyone is more than willing to help however they can.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?


Any issues can be cleared up simply via the manager, instructors, HR, apprentice coordinators etc. there is never an issue with anyone asking questions. Everyone is more than happy to help always.

7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?


As with any apprenticeship, the salary could always be better, but the Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme by Network Rail is one of the highest paid apprenticeships in the country and (with a bit of money management) is enough to cover all necessary costs. If ever this is an issue, this can be raised with the manager of your depot or instructors/ apprentice coordinators to find an amicable solution

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?


Lots of events are held by Network Rail, I personally took part in a charity fundraiser for the Spinal Injuries Association at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Working within Network Rail also opens the door to become involved in other institutes including; IMechE and IRSE. I am also an Apprentice Ambassador which allows me to take part in raising awareness of the Apprenticeship Scheme within local communities.

9a. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend? *


9b. Why? *

Excellent company to work for; company benefits, progression within the company is clearly possible, knowledge, people working already within Network Rail, available opportunities to broaden your horizons including working overseas, the qualifications available including degrees as an extension of the Apprenticeship. Overall an excellent company to work for.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail? *

If you have a passion for working with your hands, like being out doors and like to see how things work electrically or mechanically, this is the job for you. The benefits of working for Network Rail are endless if you put your mind to it. and with so many different disciplines to be able to choose from, there is certainly a position suited to your personal interests. Work hard within the apprenticeship and it really does pay off for the future. This Apprenticeship scheme is the foundation to a career for life.

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