Apprentice scheme puts Network Rail on track for the future

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 14 March 2008



(2008), "Apprentice scheme puts Network Rail on track for the future", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 40 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Apprentice scheme puts Network Rail on track for the future

Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 40, Issue 2.

Apprentice scheme puts Network Rail on track for the future

Network Rail scooped the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s People Management Award 2007 for the delivery of its advanced apprenticeship scheme. The award is presented to organizations that demonstrate how good people-management has helped them to improve performance and achieve business objectives.

Network Rail introduced a new apprenticeship scheme for railway engineers as part of a drive to meet its need for multi-skilled technicians able to provide a top-class, safe railway system. To equip the maintenance function with new, skilled people, National Rail introduced its advanced apprenticeship scheme to deliver technical expertise and provide personal development.

Geoff Armstrong, CIPD director general, commented: “The winning entry centers on a real business need at Network Rail. It knew it had to develop a large number of highly skilled engineers, to fill skill gaps identified after maintenance was brought in-house from various contractors, and deliver the safe and reliable railway system we all expect. The innovative approach of using Royal Navy facilities and expertise is building a core of people with technical, problem-solving and team-working skills.”

“Graduates of the apprenticeship system will have further opportunities to develop through, for example, foundation degrees and other qualifications. They will be well placed to move into leadership positions with Network Rail as they progress in their careers.”

Network Rail’s advanced apprenticeship scheme also provides an example of employer-led training, currently being encouraged by the British Government. The apprenticeship scheme worked closely with the awarding body and the Learning and Skills Council.

The scheme, which was delivered in partnership with Flagship Training Ltd, made use of Royal Navy facilities at HMS Sultan, reputed to be Europe’s largest engineering facility, ensuring that it was introduced quickly and cost-effectively.

Iain Coucher, Network Rail chief executive, said: “We are changing the very nature of Network Rail what it is and how it operates. Training and development are key parts of change, which is why Network Rail developed its apprenticeship scheme. The most talented apprentices will go on to a foundation degree at Sheffield Hallam University, and leadership schemes for potential high flyers. This is a huge investment in our future. This apprenticeship scheme will deliver more than 1,000 skilled technicians who will become the backbone of Network Rail for the next 25 years.”

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