Getting TMEs on track for success…

Dec. 4, 2019

New professional engineering training launches

Track Maintenance Engineers (TMEs) from North West & Central (NW&C), Wales & Western and Scotland's Railway have completed their first module of the new 12-month professional engineering training course created specifically for their role – a first of its kind for Network Rail.​

The new TME training is made up of five modules delivered over a 12-month period. It includes face-to-face training, eLearning and workplace assignments, with coaching and mentoring throughout, and is now available nationwide for existing TME colleagues and new joiners. 

User-centric design

TMEs are key decision makers in a Delivery Unit (DU), tasked with leading infrastructure maintenance teams. They're also responsible for the performance of track assets and the nature of their work requires them to make specialised railway engineering judgements.

Role Based Capability (RBC) – consisting of route heads of maintenance and heads of profession from Safety, Technical, Engineering (STE) – worked together to find a new way to design training for safety critical roles such as TMEs. A team of principal engineers and learning designers were then recruited to spend time with colleagues to understand the demands of each role and the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to perform them safely.

This holistic, user-centric approach to designing training is an evolution from the current system where each post-holder is trained based on the tasks they perform.

Jeff Pearson, NW&C, has been a TME for 10 years. He said: "This course is exactly what is needed, I was thrown in the deep end when I started, this course takes you through everything you need to know, the discussion with other TMEs is really useful."

Colborn Norfolk, TME, Wales & Western, said: "As a new TME I have gained insights into what I should be doing that would have taken me years to acquire without coming on this course."

Listen and understand

Gareth Evans, professional head of track, said: "The new training is highly interactive and designed to build on the existing knowledge and experience of TMEs, applying learning to a wide range of case study examples. The training supports TMEs to develop personalised plans for further work-based competence development."

This is a significant milestone for the business as it's the first course of its kind to support the development of TME engineering capabilities, as defined in the new professional track engineering competence framework."

Paul Jenkins, head of maintenance, Wales, said: "By taking the time to meet with TME colleagues and understand the many facets of the role, the new training is focused on the technical and behavioural skills needed to empower colleagues to make difficult railway engineering judgements in ambiguous circumstances, and understand the consequences of not performing safely.

"This is the start of a wider journey where key railway roles will have the opportunity to receive the development they need to make more effective judgments on performance and safety."

Looking ahead

Network Rail Training has also introduced role-based training for Section Planners and will continue launching more training for maintenance engineers from other disciplines next year (2020). STE is also working with the business to roll-out a new professional track engineering competence framework over the next 12 months.