21 Sept 2012





After receiving more than 6,500 applications, Network Rail has taken on a further 190 promising apprentices across the country to its award winning three-year programme, where they will train to become skilled maintenance engineering technicians.

Twenty-five of them will work on Network Rail's London North Western route, which includes the West Coast Main Line – considered to be the busiest mixed-use rail line in Europe.

With the recent green light by government for additional investment in Britain's railways, including the Northern Hub and electrification of the ‘Lancashire Triangle', apprentices of today could be part of one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the country of tomorrow.

Network Rail Apprentices training at HMS Sultan

The apprentices will spend a year training alongside the Royal Navy at Europe's largest engineering training facility HMS Sultan in Hampshire.

There they will learn both the technical skills required to work on the railway, and develop leadership and teamwork behaviours to make them more effective in their roles.

They will continue on-the-job training at depots across the country for two more years, returning to HMS Sultan for additional courses and learning. The apprentices specialise in track, signalling and telecoms, and electrification and plant. This year, Network Rail is also training apprentices for its contractors Balfour Beatty, Costain and Nexus.

Jo Kaye, Network Rail's LNW Route Managing Director, said:

"We've recruited smart and enthusiastic young men and women with a variety of work experience, education and backgrounds, who we will train to become skilled engineering technicians.

With the big projects we have ahead of us, we need more exceptional people to deliver a better value and efficient railway. Once trained, today's apprentice will be part of a 35,000-strong team that helps millions to get where they need to be safely and on time every day.

She added:

“We now have the building blocks in place so that beyond their apprenticeships, our best people can undertake a higher national certificate, a foundation degree and then a full degree in engineering.

They can earn while they learn and go as far as their aptitude, attitude and ambition can take them.”


Kelsey Everton, a 19 year-old 2nd year apprentice, is based at Sandwell and Dudley depot in the West Midlands learning, electrification and plant. She commented:

“I'd like to eventually teach on the apprenticeship scheme, it's been a great experience. There has been a lot of hard work but have made some good friends and there has been some good banter. There are only six girls on the course in my year but it's been a good experience. My friends think it's a little weird that I am doing this but I would urge them – and anyone else – to do it.”


Former apprentice, Karis Brown, who is now a principal technical officer at Appleby depot in Cumbria, is studying for the HNC in Engineering through Network Rail. She said:

“From being a young girl, I knew I wanted to work in engineering but never fancied going to university so I applied for the apprenticeship. It sounded perfect; a year away from home, a chance to make new friends and start an exciting career with no expensive university fees.

“After completing my apprenticeship and spending a couple of years working in the technical office, I saw the HNC advertised, and decided it was time for another challenge.

So far the HNC has been good, I feel I have learnt quite a bit and enjoy the mix of working and being off at university for a couple of weeks every few months. Going to university is a mixture of fun and hard work; there is a big commitment to doing course work and exam revision along with a full time job, but I am enjoying getting the benefit of student prices whilst earning a full time wage!”


The apprentices have already chosen the depots they will work in

once they have done their first year training at HMS Sultan.


About the Network Rail Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme

A three-year programme that equips them with the skills and experience to become a maintenance engineering technician.

There are seven engineering programmes: track, signals, electrification and plant, signal design, property works, mechanical locking and telecoms.

Each one gives them the chance to work in a critical area of the business, where their development will continue beyond the three years of the scheme.


Paid learning

In the first year, apprentices will be paid £8,400 + £1,150 when they successfully finish the year; the salary will rise to £11,750 in the second; and £14,000 in the third.

In the first year, Network Rail will also feed, pay for accommodation and provide the clothing and personal protective equipment that they need – including safety boots, cargo trousers and a fleece.

There are plenty of holidays: 28 days plus Bank Holidays in total. Network Rail will pay for apprentices to travel home for long weekends and Christmas, Easter and summer holidays.



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.


For more information on Network Rail's advanced apprentice scheme visit:



21 Sept 2012


Additional Information:


HMS Sultan is a shore base of the Royal Navy in Gosport, Hampshire, England.

It is the primary engineering training establishment for the Royal Navy.


It is also home to the Network Rail Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme.



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