Network Rail owns and operates the railway infrastructure across England, Wales and Scotland including 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges and viaducts and thousands of signals, tunnels, crossings and points.
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, hence 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.
The three-year programme, designed to meet the specific requirements of Network Rail’s operations, is based at the Network Rail facility in Westwood, Coventry, following 12 years at HMS Sultan in Hampshire. Since 2005 it has delivered more than 2,500 apprentices, each of which has Network Rail’s vital safety behaviours installed.
Year one apprentices live on-site, receiving a broad education over and above a standard apprenticeship, with extra-curricular activities including core fitness and pastoral care. 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.
Babcock fully manages the course, giving the apprentices a sound underpinning in engineering leading to a Level 2 and a Level 3 Diploma in Engineering. In addition to their engineering qualification, apprentices study lean manufacturing techniques and gain their Institute of Leadership & Management Level 2 & 3 qualification, as well as undertaking core fitness modules. This comprehensive programme delivers Network Rail work-ready apprentices with the skills and behaviours they need for a successful career.
The programme delivers success and timely completion rates of 96% and 95% respectively and won the Semta ‘Best of British Engineering’ Training Partner of the Year award for 2016.