Leading the apprenticeship revolution
Oct. 28, 2020
Network Rail recognised as a one of the best apprenticeship employers in the country
Caption: Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers Logo
Last week, Network Rail was announced as one of the nation's top 100 apprenticeship employers in a league table compiled by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with High Fliers Research. Network Rail ranked at number 20, ahead of companies such as BAE Systems, KPMG and Lloyds Banking Group.
With over 400 applications considered in total from the country's 10,000 apprentice employers, the ranking showcased the very best from the public and private sector and recognised Network Rail as one of the most outstanding apprenticeship employers in the country.
Network Rail welcomes over 800 apprentices into the organisation every year as part of its ongoing commitment to meet the Department for Transport's (DfT) annual targets. At any one time, the company operates 45 apprenticeship schemes ranging from its core apprenticeships in rail engineering and operations to finance and IT. A wide range of apprenticeships are available for colleagues and external applicants at all levels – from diploma to postgraduate degree. This means a skilled workforce can be maintained across all regions, routes and functions and gives apprentices the opportunity to develop a rewarding career within Network Rail.
Network Rail's apprenticeship schemes are always evolving, and continuous improvement plays a huge part in ensuring apprentices receive the best possible learning experience.
Richard Turner, head of apprenticeship delivery, Route Services, said: "This year, significant changes and improvements have been made across several schemes, ranging from how we attract and onboard apprentices to how we deliver their training and support them through the process. Our apprenticeships are changing all the time, and we're always asking ourselves how they could be better.
"While the DfT has set targets concerning the number of apprentices needed to develop our workforce effectively, the talent we're attracting is second-to-none. From a diversity viewpoint alone, the resourcing team in HR have done excellent work to improve diversity across our apprenticeship schemes. Last year 20% of our apprentices identified as Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) – which helped the transport industry overall achieve higher levels of BAME diversity this year than the last, and long may it continue.
"Working with line managers and previous apprentices, we've made changes to the learning experience. Maintenance apprentices are increasingly being trained closer-to-home, and the scheme now has regional apprentice coaches in place to assist managers and their apprentices with their development. Elsewhere we are working with universities to better deliver degree-level engineering apprenticeships and exploring how hiring managers can use project management apprentices when thinking about hiring an associate project manager. Things are always moving, and we're always looking to improve and expand."
Teams across Network Rail have worked together to create the apprenticeship offering available today.
Richard added: "I'm incredibly proud that we have been recognised as one of the top 100 apprenticeship employers in the country. It's a great reflection of the hard work that goes into delivering apprenticeships, from the trainers who deliver industry-leading training, to HR Shared Services who manage our national recruitment campaigns and onboard literally hundreds of apprentices and graduates every year, to our apprentices who dedicate themselves to learning, and to our line managers who support and guide our apprentices. It's amazing to be part of an organisation that sees our apprentices as being so key to our future, and we're really lucky to have not just great apprenticeships, but some great apprentices too."