1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
To assist the maintenance staff with the up-keep of the railway. I am based at Crewe Maintenance Depot, which is under Liverpool Delivery Unit, meaning we are responsible for a 30-mile section of the West Coast Mainline. My day-to-day roles include carrying out maintenance on faults that are found within the infrastructure, this can range from rail defects to geometry faults. I also assist the technical office ensuring that all inspections are done to within the compliance date and this involves carrying out the survey and updating all registers etc.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Increased my technical knowledge, communication and confidence working around engineering assets. I have began to understand more about engineering problems and how to assess the best method or fix to resolve any issues.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Fully, to the extent at which I enjoy going to work. I think the Network Rail apprenticeship scheme sets you up and gives you a solid array of skills and competencies to kick start a long reward career, as long as you are willing to put in the effort and take responsibility for your actions and decisions.
4. How valued do you feel by Network Rail?
Compared to other companies I have worked for I would say pretty valued, for such a big company. Considering I am an apprentice, the line managers and staff still give you respect and understand what the apprenticeship scheme is about.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Very well. Everything is well organised and all the courses are set out for you within a calender/spreadsheet which you can access on the shared drive. Year one is spent on a naval training facility in Fareham and Gosport. Years two and three, is spent at your depot and you then attend trainingt courses every 8 weeks for 2/3 weeks at a time.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
As much as required. During the training courses, there is always enough contact time with tutors and if you ever have any concerns at the depot, my line manager is always available and will mentor you during shifts.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Same as above.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I would say that the scheme requires an overview of the annual salary package. The scheme has been running for roughly 10 years and the wages havent increased much since then. This makes the wages fall short in terms of cost of living, and i will be honest it can be hard at times, especially with personal and home life commitments. I feel that train tickets(annual season) should be free whilst on the scheme, and the apprenticeship wages should also be subject to the same pay rises as maintenance and operations staff.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
I haven't really looked to be honest.
9. Would you recommend Network Rail to a friend?
Good career option, plenty of opportunties within the business and the railway is now bussier than ever. There is a lot of investment going into improving the railway and this can only be a positive. The company seem to recognise and reward hard work and you can make what you want of your career.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Network Rail?
Work hard and realise the commitment required from the business. However, if you are driven I would recommend applying to Network Rail. The skills you can aquire are really worth the time and effort. I would say that you need to prepare to move away for 9 months, but this is definitely worth the time. I would say it has been the best thing I have done.
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