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Track and Train is no fool

The rail industry is renewing its efforts to attract more graduates onto the metals.

Selection is now underway for the ‘Track and Train’ scheme. Graduates will be starting the vertically integrated programme on 1st April. Figures show many graduates turn down job offers feeling they are over qualified or that the job wasn’t for them.

Moving into industry from the familiar surroundings of academia can prove challenging. The rail industry is helping put that right with an 18 month project which acts as an introduction to the railways – both infrastructure and train operations. The scheme is backed by 27 railway companies.

‘Track and Train’ provides an all-round paid-for industry experience lasting 18 months. Graduates take three, six-month placements: one at Network Rail and two at either a passenger or freight operator or another company within the rail sector.

Says Neal Lawson, Managing Director of First Capital Connect, which is backing the scheme, ‘This is a fantastic initiative and I am very pleased that First Capital Connect is playing an important role.

‘Track and Train’ addresses the gap presented by our industry structure, which separates train operations from infrastructure management. This program allows graduate trainees to appreciate how the whole machine works, improving our effectiveness in developing the next generation of railway professionals.’

The scheme effectively foils the ‘what experience do you have’ stickler that unnerves so many new graduates. For the rail industry it represents another initiative aimed at attracting the brightest and the best to the leading transport industry in Europe.

Patrick Butcher, Network Rail’s Group Finance Director is responsible for the scheme. ‘We know that there are many smart, talented individuals out there that haven’t had their break yet and as a growing industry we can work together to provide challenging, valuable and paid work experience to kick start their careers.

‘What sets this scheme apart is those involved will work across the rail industry and by linking it all together, develop a fantastic knowledge and understanding of the challenges we all face and the opportunities for the future,’ said Patrick.

Typical roles in Track and Train include network operations, station and train teams, customer service, sales and marketing, route strategy, asset management and project management. Additional coaching and mentoring classes will be provided at Network Rail’s development centre where those on the scheme will receive advice on how to present a great CV, interview techniques and presentations skills.

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