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To round off a fantastic Rail Week, we're delighed to have Michelle Nolan-McSweeney, Network Rail's Head of Training Strategy, as a guest blogger - to explain more about the organisation's apprenticeship plans.

These are exciting times for Network Rail - we're set to double the number of apprenticeships we offer nationwide, including fantastic new opportunities in cyber security and digital railway, as we seek to future-proof the skills needed to enable the British public to make over 4 million journeys a day.

We've recently recruited over 150 apprentices to join our award-winning advanced apprenticeship scheme from September 2017 – which delivers the front-line engineers vital to keeping the rail network running. Trainees specialise in one of five disciplines: track, signalling, overhead lines, electrical and plant, and telecom – and other opportunities exist nationwide as we seek to attract further intakes.

As well as the advanced apprenticeship scheme, Network Rail is also set to increase the number and range of business apprenticeships that it offers. In addition to the rail technician apprenticeships, we recruit apprentices for other technical areas and our corporate functions, such as accounting, HR, project management and commercial surveying - all leading to professional qualifications.

Network Rail is committed to investing in the future talent needed to build and maintain the bigger, better railway that Britain wants, and apprentices are a vital part of that Railway Upgrade Plan. The rail industry is one of Britain’s success stories as more and more people want to travel by train. Demand has doubled over the last 20 years and is set to double again in the next 25 years, so we need more people to help make that possible.

Network Rail’s programmes are suitable for anyone wanting to build a career in an industry that impacts millions of people every day. All that we ask is that our apprentices – new people or those in the business wishing to upskill or reskill – have a passion for making a difference. We want people to join us who are capable and willing to work hard; we encourage self-development, and many of our apprentices go on to study degree level and post-graduate qualifications. This couldn’t be a better time to be in rail; the opportunities are being created and we want individuals to get involved and join us on this exciting journey.

Click here for more information about rail engineering careers at Network Rail.

About EAL's Rail Qualifications

EAL is the specialist awarding organisation for the rail engineering industry. We offer:

  • An extensive engineering portfolio covering track, traction and rolling stock, signalling, telecoms, electrification and overhead line.
  • A full suite of qualifications for rail engineering apprenticeship standards from Levels 2 – 4, developed with leading rail employers and the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) and National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR).
  • Qualifications that support compliance with rail industry regulations including Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) Licensing Schemes and companies’ CMS (Competence Management System) requirements.

For more information, please contact customercare@eal.org.uk

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