Where did your career in rail begin?
My Career in Railway 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 dominanated 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 sitting waiting for you.
How was your apprenticeship structured?
As I was part of the first cohort for Network Rail’s newly structured scheme, it was not without its teething problems. 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 gaining the relevant courses 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 the how and why things work, and I really felt I managed to achieve that with the scheme.
There were some challenges along the way, getting used to balancing a real-time job and learning 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.
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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 knowing all the knowledge I know and managing to come out of the scheme as a signalling technician to the be offered a job as a intelligent infrastructure Technician 1 year later. 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 BEng 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.