On track for a new career

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APPRENTICES are on track for a promising career in the rail industry as they begin a three-year training programme.

Network Rail received almost 8,000 applications for its award-winning advanced apprenticeship scheme this year — and 17 of those chosen will be working in the North East.

The recruits, who will become skilled maintenance engineering technicians, will spend a year training alongside the Royal Navy at HMS Sultan in Hampshire, where they will learn the technical side of the job, as well as leadership and teamwork skills.

Their training will then continue on the job for a further two years, including working from depots across the region, and they will return to HMS Sultan for extra courses.

The apprentices specialise in track, signalling and telecoms, overhead line and electrification and plant.

Director of Maintenance Steve Featherstone said: “In the future we expect the railway to become more popular and we have big plans for making it more reliable, efficient and better value for money — our apprentices will play a big role in that.”