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Progress Rail apprentices greet MPs

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Top performing apprentices at Progress Rail Services UK met two local MPs recently. George King, Drew Wheatley and Tom Lowton are all building railway careers at the company’s Sandiacre facility in Nottingham.

The three apprentices met Jessica Lee, MP for Erewash when she visited Sandiacre. They later met South Holland and the Deepings MP and cabinet minster, John Hayes and Maggie Throup, perspective Conservative candidate for Erewash – Jessica Lee is standing down at the next general election.

The visits underscore the importance attached to the growing rail industry and the people working in it. Hayes is now senior parliamentary adviser to the Prime Minister. Jessica Lee has been a keen supporter of the rail industry backing the opening of a new station in Ilkeston.

Apprentice Design Engineer George King joined Progress Rail in the UK in August 2012. George works in the Production Design Department and produces detailed designs for the manufacture of rail switches and crossings.

His colleague apprentice CNC Machine Operator Drew Wheatley, joined in November 2010. Drew has powered ahead learning all aspects of operating the range of CNC machines used to manufacture switches and crossings.

Tom Lowton is an Apprentice Maintenance Technician who also joined Progress Rail in November 2010. Tom has a busy role in the Maintenance Department working on the full range of production machines in operation across the site.

The apprentices, with Managing Director, Tim Fenemore and Head of Human Resources, George Law, gave Jessica Lee a guided tour of the Sandiacre site and explained their involvement in the business.

During the subsequent John Hayes visit, the group discussed the potential impact of HS2 and showcased a new CNC machining facility, which will produce a revolutionary new design of Stretcher Bar for Network Rail.

Says George Law, ‘We are really pleased with the progress our young apprentices have made since they first joined us, and it is great they have been given the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to and knowledge of the business to their local Members of Parliament.

The apprenticeship programme benefits not only the apprentices and our business, but also the local economy and we are proud to be a part of that contribution. We look forward to continuing to share the experiences of our apprentices through their involvement in the apprenticeship programme.’

Progress Rail Services UK Ltd is one of Britain’s largest manufacturers of permanent way infrastructure, specialising in the design and manufacture of permanent way trackwork and materials for mainline, freight, industrial and light rail customers.

The company is owned by Progress Rail Services Corporation a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc, one of the most extensive rail service and supply networks in North America.


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