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New year start for apprentices

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A partnership between Vital Rail and Transport for London (TfL) has led to the creation of more than one hundred apprenticeships for 16 to 18 year olds across Greater London.

More than 100 teenagers, including eight former offenders, have been recruited to take an apprenticeship in railway engineering. Following 12 months training and hands-on experience the first 65 apprentices are now set to begin new careers in the rail industry after completing their qualifications.

The apprenticeship initiative, backed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was set up in response to unemployment among the young. In London one in four young people aged 16 to 24 is out of work.

With responsibility for most of London’s transport network, TfL and its supply chain has provided valuable work placements for the apprentices, including the popular project to maintain the Epping Ongar Railway heritage line.

A number of apprentices have already completed their qualifications and have moved on to a range of rail business projects with Network Rail and London Underground.

Says Gary Hardaker, managing director of Vital Rail, part of Kennington Park-based Vital Services Group, ‘Young people are the future of the rail industry and we’re delighted to have provided opportunities for such a keen group of young people.

‘Transport for London has been a fantastic partner and we’re so pleased to see our apprentices at the end of their first year. They have gained some valuable knowledge and experience and made some excellent foundations in what can be a long and rewarding career.’

Says Yasin Ali, an apprentice from Newham, ‘I started my apprenticeship with Vital in January and am really enjoying it. I’m learning lots of new things and have made some good friends. It’s been great to develop new skills and put them into practice on an actual railway and I can’t wait to see what else the course has got in store.’

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