Transport Secretary Justine Greening has welcomed 85 young graduates onto the railway at Coventry.
The Secretary of State was there to toast of a new industry scheme, ‘Track and Train,’ launched to encourage more young people to take up careers on the railways.
The new cross-rail industry paid work placement scheme provides graduates with industrial experience at Network Rail and a train or freight company.
The scheme lasts 18 months. All those joining this spring have graduated in the last two years but owing to tough economic times have found themselves either unemployed or more likely under-employed in a non-graduate level role.
Track and Train will give them opportunities to gain valuable experience before taking the next step in their careers.
Traditionally, the rail industry has struggled to attract great numbers of talented women who perceive it as old fashioned and heavy. However 30 per cent of Track and Train’s new recruits are female.
‘This scheme is really great news for the next generation of men and, I’m pleased to say, women, who will be leading and transforming the industry for years to come,’ said Justine Greening.
‘More and more graduates are realising that the railways can provide dynamic, fulfilling jobs at a time of not only unprecedented investment in our existing networks but as we also embark on the creation of a truly national high speed railway network.’
Funded by Network Rail, the scheme involves 28 partner companies based across Britain.
Those on the scheme will be paid a salary of £22,000 per annum with 21 days holiday for each of the years 2012 and 2013. Network Rail received 2514 applications.