Rachelle: Engineering Apprentice at Network Rail

Rachelle: Engineering Apprentice at Network Rail

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Where did your career in rail begin? 

My career in rail began on the Network Rail Level 3 Apprenticeship as a Signalling apprentice.

What were your pre-conceived ideas of a career in rail before you started your career?

At first, I didn’t really have any idea of what I had applied for, I was more interested in telecoms and aviation. I didn’t really know what to expect career-wise. I did think that it was a very male dominated working environment and that there would not be that many opportunities for women within engineering sectors, especially rail.

What piece of advice would you give someone considering an apprenticeship in rail? 

My advice would be to give it a go, whether it be via Network Rail or an operating company. There is a vast amount of opportunity within the rail sector. If you are interested in STEM subjects or any form of engineering, there is an opportunity waiting for you.

How was your apprenticeship structured?

Overall, it was structured well. Once I was placed in my depot, I was able to be hands-on with the equipment and learn by experience, as well as studying to gain the knowledge I needed to do my job every day.

What did you enjoy (and not) about your apprenticeship? 

I enjoyed the hands-on learning the most during my apprenticeship. I’ve always been keen to learn new things and learn how things work, and I really felt I managed to achieve that with the apprenticeship.

There were some challenges along the way, getting used to balancing a job and studying with shift work and my social life. Apart from that, I enjoyed pushing myself to learn and give 100%. I would never have grown my confidence if I did not take part in the apprenticeship.

What have you learnt and done in your career so far that has most interested you?

In my career so far, I have learnt a lot about myself and that I can push myself to achieve what I want to. When I first started my apprenticeship, I didn’t dream of gaining all the knowledge I have now. The interesting part of my career is constantly learning about new assets and how these are monitored for reliability purposes. The constant river of knowledge is beneficial to me and it keeps my day-to-day job very interesting.

What’s next for you?

For me, I am currently undertaking my Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship, which will give me a Bachelor of Engineering in Rail and Rail Systems, Signalling and Control. This will help me to continue to push the boundaries and take me a step closer to becoming an incorporated engineer. Also, I would like to continue to advocate for women in engineering as I think this is extremely important and that women should not be scared to venture into the field if its something they are interested in.

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If you have any questions about this or any other career within the rail industry, please get in touch with us and a member of our team will be more than happy to anser any questions you might have!

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