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Expansion for rail apprenticeships

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Network Rail is to expand its award winning Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme.

The company has pledged to recruit 140 new apprentices to start training in March 2017. The three-year scheme will now offer 300 young people the chance to ‘earn while they learn’ in 2017.

Apprentices will be recruited in two intakes – in March and September – gaining valuable work experience, transferable skills and recognised qualifications.

As well as the 50 per cent increase in the number of opportunities available over the year, Network Rail has moved the Advanced Apprenticeship to a new home at its modern training and development centre near Coventry in the West Midlands.

Apprentices will spend the first five months of the three-year scheme at the training centre, specialising in one of five areas: electrification and plant, overhead lines, signalling, telecoms or track. They then move to local depots for on-the-job training on the railway’s front line, gaining knowledge and vital skills from experienced team members.

Says Network Rail apprentice, Hamzah Kola, ‘I’m currently working in my depot and getting to put the theory that I was taught during my first year of the scheme into action. Most of my managers are former apprentices so I can see there is lots of opportunity to progress within the organisation and Network Rail offers so many career paths and opportunities. Joining the Advanced Apprenticeship scheme is the best decision that I’ve ever made.’ Apprentices join the 20,000-strong orange army of front line engineers and technicians responsible for Britain’s rail infrastructure.

The majority of those coming through the apprentice scheme build successful careers with Network Rail. Eighty-five per cent of those who started on the scheme in 2005, when it was first launched, are still working for the organisation.