Emma's diary entry - Spring 2012

As her apprenticeship draws to a close, Emma has been using Network Rail’s intranet to look for work opportunities and visit different departments to see what they do. She’s found one she loves: the air operations team.

Network Rail's air operations unit Since my last blog I have been very busy with training courses as well as visits to possible job opportunities for when I finish my apprenticeship.

Becoming qualified

As well as working my rostered hours with the Westbury faulting team, I have been back to HMS Sultan, studying the first half of my SMTH (Signal Maintenance and Testing Handbook). On completion of this course, I will be mentored and then I will be qualified to lead, test and check new equipment which has been replaced due to failure or severe degradation.

Visiting different teams to see what opportunities are out there

I also arranged a visit with the Swindon projects team who are working to electrify and improve the railway near my area. I wanted to go along and see this to decide whether it is something that I want to get into on completion of my apprenticeship.

Network Rail’s air operations unit

After contacting a few people via Network Rail’s intranet site, I arranged a visit to the air operations unit of Network Rail. They use advanced camera equipment to observe the railway and they can find many defects in just a single flight. My first visit with them consisted of meeting the air operations manager. She kindly talked me through what her teams get up to and what her unit does to help with the maintenance and fault finding of the railway up and down the country.

On my second visit with them, I went for a trip in the helicopter and saw for myself how the cameras were used and I realised just how much of a benefit this equipment was to the railway as a whole.

I would love to keep an eye out for any available jobs with the air operations unit in the future as it is something I would really love to do! I fly gliders as a hobby outside of work and am also very keen on a career in engineering so I feel this job would be great for me!

Finishing my apprenticeship early

My apprenticeship comes to a finish in June, however I am working hard to get all my reports finished so that I can be signed off of the apprenticeship as early as next month. This is on agreement that I return for the two remaining two week courses. In the meantime I will keep looking for a potential job within the air operations unit of Network Rail.