Network Rail is to create 40 per cent more engineering places on its graduate programme next year.
The 2016 graduate scheme will offer places to 150 university leavers. Eighty places will be split across mechanical, electrical and civil engineering disciplines.
Other roles will be created in areas such as management, finance and human resources.
Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said the company was keen to ensure that this latest programme would bring a diverse group of young professionals into the industry.
He said: “I am proud that we have increased the number of women joining our graduate programme to 29 per cent in the last year and to 28 per cent from black, Asian, minority ethnic backgrounds, but we have to accelerate that growth so that it better reflects the society in which we live and serve.
“We need the very best talent on offer to help deliver our railway upgrade plan and transform our railway to carry the ever-increasing number of people who choose to travel by rail safely, efficiently and comfortably. That means not missing out on bringing the best engineers – both men and women and all ethnicities – to Network Rail.”
Ben Valley, who joined the Network Rail graduate scheme in 2011 after completing a degree in motorsport engineering, said: “When people hear I have a motorsport degree they ask me why I’m not working in Formula 1, but my father worked on the railway, so I knew there were fantastic opportunities in rail and a really well-structured graduate programme.
“I still love Formula 1, but when I had the choice to join Network Rail’s scheme, it was an easy decision to make.
“My role as a safety engineer means I’m responsible for ensuring every piece of work on Crossrail complies with UK and European safety legislation, which is a massive task.
“I know though that it will mean that when the programme is complete, hundreds of thousands of people can safely travel across London every day.
“I also do a lot of work with industry bodies such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to address the skills gap in engineering, which is something I really enjoy.”
For more graduate and apprenticeship opportunities in the UK rail industry go to RailStudents.com