The rail industry is a vibrant and growing part of the transport sector, providing trains to meet the needs of both customers and freight forwarders.
The rail infrastructure is a complex set of systems including track, signalling and telecoms that have to work together to ensure the trains operate safely and efficiently. Every system has to be designed, installed, commissioned and maintained and a whole host of engineers and technicians are required to apply their engineering skills and knowledge to deliver a fit for purpose rail system.
Train drivers only know where to go, how fast, and whether a station is safe to approach or not because of the signalling system. It’s a vast network of signs, lights and more, telling drivers what to do and when. If it goes wrong, the results could mean delays, diversions and even disasters if the problem isn’t sorted quickly.
Add to that the jobs involved in laying the track, keeping communication between stations and trains up and running, and even using the vehicles necessary to get from one point to another on a track to fix it, and you’ve got a lot of opportunities.
An advanced apprenticeship in rail infrastructure engineering covers three pathways dealing with track, signalling and telecoms. Whichever pathway you choose you are likely to work as a technician or junior technical engineer.
Technicians play a key role in inspecting, fault finding, maintaining and renewing the assets within their discipline. The junior technical engineer is critical in the measurement, analysis and planning of work on the various assets. As an apprentice, you might work in an office as well as on site. You’ll need to enjoy solving problems, be willing to work shifts and be prepared to work outdoors in all weathers.
Once qualified, the starting salary is between £12,500 - £14,500.
Further information on rail infrastructure engineering apprenticeships can be found at apprenticeships.org.uk.
Reproduced from The Apprenticeship Guide 2012 [new window]
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