Time to Challenge the Stigma Around Apprenticeships

says Network Rail Chief


National Apprenticeship Week 14 to 18 March 2016



            • Apprenticeships fast-track people towards Personal and Professional Goals, Network Rail research shows


            • Network Rail Boss urges Employers, Teachers and Parents to work together to educate young people about Apprenticeships



Apprenticeships provide a fantastic opportunity for anyone,

who wants to learn new skills and is prepared to work hard and get ahead.


This is the message from Network Rail Chief Executive, Mark Carne,

ahead of National Apprenticeship Week 14 - 18 March 2016


Mr Carne, the Boss of one of the UK's Biggest Employers with 35,000 staff across Britain,

wants to challenge the ‘stigma' associated with apprenticeships,


and is calling on Teachers, Parents and Employers to work together

to educate more young people about the benefits they can offer.


This is in line with Network Rail research showing

that graduates from the company's Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme

are often the first in their friendship group to achieve their personal and professional goals.


Commenting, Mark Carne, said:


“ Our apprenticeship scheme has been running for ten years

and we are incredibly proud of what our graduates have gone on to achieve.

Many tell us that our scheme has fast-tracked them

towards achieving personal and professional goals

ahead of their friends, such as managing a team and buying a house.


“Our graduated apprentices are living proof

that there should be no stigma associated with apprenticeships,

and that with the right attitude and work ethic, you can reap the rewards

alongside those who have chosen a university route.


In fact, many of our apprentices have gone on to gain higher qualifications,

including degrees, through our education programme.


I would urge employers, teachers and parents to join forces to educate young people about the fantastic benefits

that an apprenticeship can offer, both in a personal and professional capacity.”




Ffestiniog Apprentices 1-3 March 2016


Jay Williams is one of Network Rail's graduated apprentices.

He joined the Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme in 2008

and since graduating in 2011 he has had four promotions within the company.


He now works as an Asset Engineer in Swindon

and recently achieved his dream of buying his first home.


Jay, 24, said :

“I didn't have the easiest start in life,

but joining the scheme gave me the opportunity to turn my life around.

I've worked hard, and in the space of seven years, I've gone from being homeless to owning my own home.


“I would, and often do, recommend the scheme to anyone and everyone that will listen.

Hopefully I am living proof that apprenticeships

give young people the opportunity to create a real future for themselves,

irrespective of their background.”


Research from Network Rail shows that its Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme

puts people on track for a prosperous and rewarding career.





Apprentice Chris Hinde North West June 2014



A Survey of Graduates from the Scheme found that:


        More than half of those surveyed were the first among their friends to buy a house (52%)

        Almost three quarters (71%) said they were the first in their friendship group to be promoted

        Nearly half (43%) say they are on track for a senior management position within the next five years

        69% of those surveyed said they feel they are in a role where they are making a real difference

        62% of our graduated apprentices feel they have made decisions that directly impact the business


Network Rail apprentices form part of the company's 20,000-strong orange army

of front line engineers and technicians

who maintain, renew and upgrade the railway across Britain.


This year, Network Rail is looking to recruit 150 apprentices nationwide

to help deliver the biggest investment

since the Victorian era through its £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan.



About Network Rail's Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme


Network Rail's Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme is a three-year programme

that equips people with the skills and experience to become a maintenance engineering technician.

The scheme is open to applicants, who will be aged 18 by October 1st 2016 and has no upper age limit.

There are five engineering programmes: track, signals, electrification and plant, signal design and telecoms.

Each one gives you the chance to work in a critical area of the business,

where your development will continue beyond the three years of the scheme.



Pay and benefits:

As an Advanced Apprentice, you'll earn while you learn,

with free food and accommodation during the period of your residential stay in your first year.


There are plenty of holidays: 28 days plus Bank Holidays

and Network Rail will pay for apprentices

to travel home for long weekends and Christmas, Easter and summer holidays.


During the scheme, you can claim all our company benefits too,

such as discounted train travel to and from work and a pension.




After three years, apprentices will have the qualifications

(NVQ, BTec and ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management))

and skills to develop a long-term career with Network Rail.


Many apprentices complete their first year,

and soon start to think about their career options

– and many set their sights on becoming technical officers, team leaders or managers.


There are even further opportunities to study a foundation degree

for those who demonstrate the commitment and ability.


About the research:

The survey was conducted in July 2015 by Network Rail

and polled 355 employees, who have completed the company's Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme.





About Network Rail:

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway

– the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts,

and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run).


In partnership with train operators, we help people take more than 1.6bn journeys by rail every year

- double the number of 1996 - and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight,

saving almost 8m lorry journeys.


We're investing £40bn in the railway by 2019

to deliver more frequent, more reliable, safer services and brighter and better stations.


Contact information

Lisa Morrison
Network Rail
07734 649250

Courtesy Network Rail Media Centre


To visit another RVR Gallery on Network Rail Apprenticeships (dated Sept 2012 - content may be out-of-date) click here