Babcock runs Network Rail’s engineering maintenance and infrastructure operator apprenticeship programmes for all apprentices, specialising in maintenance areas including track, signalling, overhead line, telecommunications & electrification and plant, along with infrastructure operator apprentices specialising in Railway Signalling

Developing effective apprenticeships

Network Rail runs, maintains and develops Britain’s rail infrastructure. Every day, four million people and thousands of tonnes of goods move around the country.

In 2005, Network Rail asked Babcock to develop their engineering apprenticeship programme.  At the time, it was localised and covered various aspects of engineering that didn’t meet all of Network Rail’s requirements, so Network Rail wanted a provider capable of delivering consistent and relevant training to all their engineering apprentices, at one location and to a consistent standard.

Meeting specific training needs

Babcock began by tailoring our Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship programme to meet the specific needs of Network Rail’s operations.

As well as technical training, the programme instils Network Rail’s 10 Lifesaving rules and behaviours, which are pivotal to the company’s success in developing a world-class workforce, and instil a safety ethos which is vital in a complex operating environment.

The three-year programme is designed to meet the specific requirements of Network Rail’s operations and is based at the Network Rail facility in Westwood, Coventry following 12 years at HMS Sultan in Hampshire.

Year one apprentices live on-site, providing a broad education over and above a standard apprenticeship, with extra-curricular activities including core fitness and pastoral care.

We fully manage the course, giving the apprentices a sound underpinning in engineering and leading to a Level 2 and a Level 3 Diploma in Engineering.

During their second and third years apprentices work on the rail network’s front line, gaining vital experience as they train to become maintenance technicians. They also attend HMS Sultan for further periods of technical training by Network Rail Workforce Development Specialists.

The Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship combines technical engineering training with a comprehensive personal development programme, to develop the specific leadership and management skills required by Network Rail.

Attracting and retaining high-quality people

Babcock is delivering a successful programme which blends academic and vocational training, promotes Network Rail’s work ethic and provides apprentices with the personal and social skills required for the business’s future needs.

By the end of 2017, the programme had delivered over 2,500 highly skilled technical engineers to the rail sector.

Rated Grade 1 Outstanding by Ofsted across all five areas of the inspection framework, the Academy has ‘Beacon Status’, putting Babcock in the top five per cent of vocational providers in the UK.  Overall achievement rates for 2016/17 were 98% with timely success rates at 96%.  In addition Babcock was awarded ‘Best of British Engineering’ Training Partner of the Year 2016 by the SEMTA Skills Council.

"We are committed to building a better railway for Britain. By developing the talented and enthusiastic people who come through our apprenticeship scheme we can help create a workforce that is vital to our future success."