Apprentice boost on the railways

Network Rail is to double the number of apprenticeship opportunities offered over the next 12 months, up from 300 this year to 600 next year. Its advanced apprenticeship scheme will include new training covering cyber security and the digital railway.

Just two years ago Network Rail offered 150 places on its advanced apprenticeship scheme. The company places no upper age limit on those who sign up.

“The rail industry is one of Britain’s success stories as more and more people want to travel by train,” said head of professional development and training Guy Wilmshurst-Smith. “Demand has doubled over the last 20 years and is set to double again in the next 25 years, so we need more people to help make that possible.”

Elsewhere, concerns have been raised following last week’s A-level results that far fewer girls are studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics than boys. Figures from the Joint Council for Qualifications reveal that over 20,000 more boys than girls took maths and physics at A-level in each subject this year.

Consultant Aecom’s chief executive for the UK & Ireland Patrick Flaherty said: “The major focus must be on drastically improving the quality of carers advice in schools in partnership with industry, so that every student is fully aware of the vast array of STEM careers out there.”

Last month the Department for Transport announced that up to 35,000 apprentices are set to be created over the next five years in the road and rail sectors. For details of the Government’s ambitions, see Transportation Professional’s learning and development guide, to be published in the September issue of the magazine.