News and Updates

National Apprenticeship Week 2018

It’s National Apprenticeship Week!

Throughout the week, meet rail apprentices across the country from all walks of life building their exciting career in rail.

A Railway Engineering Apprenticeship is one of the routes to a rail career.  Here’s what Nichola Wright has to say about her experience.

Why being an engineering apprentice in the rail industry is a great career choice


To celebrate Rail Week, we have a guest blog from Nichola Wright, a former apprentice (and EAL learner) who is now a Signalling Technician for Network Rail.  Here Nichola describes her career journey and why she loves working in the industry.

Earlier this year, I completed my advanced apprenticeship (which included EAL qualifications) with Network Rail, which has given me the opportunity to pursue the job I currently have and began my railway career.

Before leaving school, like most people, I knew very little about the railway and had a limited knowledge of any apprenticeships that were available to me. I found out about the Network Rail apprenticeship through a family member, and was unsure about my feelings towards attending university at the time and so decided to apply. I was very fortunate to gain a place on the scheme with my first application, and in the September after my A-Levels I travelled down to Portsmouth to attend my 9 month residential training course.

During these 9 months, I thrived in an environment where I was treated like an adult, and had opportunities to learn skills related to my future trade whilst receiving a wage to do so! Following completion of the residential portion of my scheme, I then travelled back home and began my two years at a local depot, working with people who were in the job I was being trained to do. This was an incredibly educational and informative experience, as it gave me the skills, knowledge and experience of what my life after I completed my apprenticeship. I went home at the end of each day feeling a strong sense of accomplishment, as instead of sitting in a classroom and being told what my job would be like eventually, I had been out that day, doing it for real under the mentorship of work colleagues.

During the years of my apprenticeship, and the subsequent months since its completion, I have experienced various emotions towards working in the rail industry itself. Initially, I wasn’t sure about how I felt about the industry; after all, it was never something I had considered whilst in school. My fellow classmates would excitedly describe their future careers in medicine, sport, art or beauty to me, with not a mention towards anything in the transport sector at all. It wasn’t until I started working at my local depot, and got to see the trains running on the lines and hear about the facts and figures regarding customers, Train Operating Companies and targets, that I truly understood just how important the rail industry is to the country.

After I’d discovered just how critical this industry is, I began to develop a real sense of pride in my work. I’d return home after a shift, thinking about how I’d helped to keep the railway a safe place that day by conducting maintenance of different types of equipment, or how I had helped a train full of passengers return home after a long day at work when I helped to correct a fault, which was preventing trains from running as they should. Even now, after being out on the track for around two and a half years, I still feel a great sense of accomplishment and pride when I think about the job that I do, and how I am personally helping the millions of people that use our rail network to get home every day, and to do so safely.

There are more than just engineering apprenticeships in the rail industry.

Find out more about What Railway Apprenticeships Can Do For You!

Rail Week 2018 Dates Announced!

Rail Week is delighted to announce its 2018 dates!

What a crackling treat just before the Christmas holidays!

Rail Week will return next year from 8th to 14th October 2018. We will be working closely with many organisations from the rail industry and education to celebrate the Year of Engineering, a year-long campaign announced by the government last month.

We look forward to share with you more details of Rail Week 2018 in the new year!

Mock Assessment Centre Day by Knorr-Bremse RailServices

Mock Assessment Centre held as part of Rail Week

October 18, 2017 [Knorr-Bremse United Kingdom Company Notice]

As part of Rail Week, Knorr-Bremse RailServices at Wolverton invited eight students and three members of staff from the Radcliffe School to the facility to take part in a Mock Assessment Centre.

The Mock Assessment Centre was an opportunity for the students to experience first-hand the recruitment process for potential new employees and apprentices. The day was organised as part of Rail Week which aims to promote careers in the rail industry to young people.

Darren Stawarz, a Project Engineer at KBRS and an ambassador for the Young Rail Professionals, promoted and assisted with the organisation of this event. The Assessment Centre was run by training team members, David Hilliard and Graham Ropke, Darren Stawarz and Production Engineer, Liz Lothian.


Students took part in a number of tasks relating to electrical, mechanical and vehicle building initiatives, as well as team work.

The day was hugely successful and there are plans to create a partnership between KBRS Wolverton and Radcliffe School. Darren Stawarz said: “Following the success of the mock assessment I am hoping to fully involve Radcliffe School in the process and make them a flagship for future engagement”

Feedback from the students was extremely positive. One of them, Lameck Nyarirangwe said: “It was a very enjoyable experience in which I learnt skills I was not expecting to learn, many of which I will be able to use in the future. I now have assessment day skills to add to my CV and further talents in disassembly and reassembly. All of the staff were friendly, polite and welcoming and had constructive answers to any questions.”

Events like this are important in raising awareness of the opportunities for apprenticeships and placements within the rail industry and encouraging the new generation of engineers.

Please visit the Knorr Bremse UK website for more information

Rail Week 2017 the best yet!


Thank you for supporting Rail Week 2017!

What a week! Rail Week 2017 was a great success with over 80 collaborators from across the rail industry and education sector involved; over 50 special visits and events, as well as inspiring talks throughout the week up and down the country. It is estimated that the campaign engaged over 3000 young people and their influencers. Several new collaborations among companies and organizations were also formed and helped delivered a brilliant week of events this year. We would like to thank everyone for their involvement and support in making Rail Week the success it was.

Highlights during Rail Week include; a visit to the GWR Reading Train Care Depot; the UK’s largest Rail Careers “High” Speed Networking event; the opportunity to see state-of- the-art trains close at the Three Bridges maintenance facility; a tour of Freightliner terminal at Basford Hall, Crewe; an open day at RTS Depot in Leeds; a full week of events and activities by Newcastle College Rail Academy and Rail Delivery Group respectively; a Welcome to Rail talk and tour of the National College High Speed Rail in Birmingham; and many school visits throughout the country.

The success of Rail Week 2017 is credited to the efforts and support of all our collaborators and volunteers. Photographs of events and reports are being published on the Rail Week website.

The campaign is not over yet! Continue to share  and explore #PeopleinRail stories on our website and social media; join us in tackling #RailMyths and showcase exciting careers and opportunities in rail as rail is so diverse, it is #MoreThanOrange.

Newcastle College Rail Academy students witness track incident respond simulation


Did you missed Rail Week?

Don’t worry! Rail Week continues to work with YRP and its collaborators throughout the industry to continue to highlight the opportunities in rail and inspire the future generation throughout the year.  Check our events page for upcoming events. We have many free resource for you to use from classroom activity packs to games and colouring sheets, just for fun! Watch videos from our collaborators of interviews with young people in rail and exciting major projects in the UK. Why not invite Rail Week Ambassadors to support your own school event or drop-in to a class to hear what it is like to work in rail in person.

Key Stage 1 & 2 students visiting RTS Depot in Leeds

Rail Week 2018 :: The Year of Engineering

Rail Week 2018 will soon be announced. Make sure you are subscribed to Rail Week’s Newsletter to be the first to receive our latest news!

Students working on an engineering challenge with Virgin Trains East Coast

Rail Week Day 2 Highlights

Rail Week Day 2 – #AdaLovelaceDay

It was Ada Lovelace Day on Tuesday, and what a great way of celebrating women in STEM during Rail Week with Newcastle College Rail Academy’s Future Engineers Event where more than 70 rail academy students listened to career presentations by female engineers and female members from the British Transport Police.

Charlotte Neumann ex-student at the college currently working in AECOM

Cheryl and Tanya from BTP










More women in rail were out and about promoting rail opportunities and inspiring young people to a career in rail on Rail Week Day 2. The Bombardier Transportation Tour of the Production Line and Career Evening in Derby saw up to 70 parents and students in attendance. In small groups, they had a chance to tour the production line and see for themselves the assembly of the new Crossrail – Elizabeth Line trains, which was pretty impressive indeed!

Sabrina Ihadadden ex YRP chair sharing her career experience

More women in rail and fellow colleagues from Bombardier Transportation volunteering at the Production Line tour and career evening









Rail Week was everywhere on Tuesday!

Rail Alliance hosted a networking session linking young professionals to senior figures from across the rail freight supply chain and the intermodal community in Liverpool; Siemens Rail Automation in Chippenham had an open day and ran a wide range of activities including: tours of the manufacturing site, interactive engineering challenges, careers workshops and talks from special guests; Rail Delivery Group’s Planning, Engineering, Operations team in London showed undergraduates latest projects and what’s they involved; Network Rail attended John Ruskin College annual Careers and Higher Education Fair in Croydon bringing with them an interactive activity and information about  Network Rail Apprenticeship Schemes.

70 key stage 1 and 2 students from Leeds area got up close and personal with a Northern Rail diesel stock and an opportunity to tour RTS Infrastructure Depot. Certainly not your average day of school…

Key Stage 1 & 2 students visiting RTS Depot in Leeds

Read about Welsh female engineers encouraging women and girls to ‘just do it’ and consider careers in engineering here!

Coming up in Rail Week: The largest rail Career Speed Networking Event on Friday 13th October. Follow us on Twitter @railweek for more updates!

Rail Week blog: Diversity in rail

This year’s Rail Week is all about diversity in jobs and people. Paul Case, National Chair of Young Rail Professionals (YRP) and Project Manager at London Underground give his thoughts

Let me be blunt, the Rail Industry has an image problem. The ‘traditional’ image of a railway worker for many evokes thoughts of yellow hats and oiled hands, or conductor’s hats and ticket machines – typically worn by men.

Gender and BAME diversity in the sector is undeniably poor. A study by the fantastic Women in Rail (WiR) last year revealed that just 16% of the roles in the UK rail industry are filled by women – roughly unchanged since 1914. In a sector crying out for new skill to plug the widening gap (56,000 more technicians a year needed, for a start) this is untenable.

Fortunately, the industry is starting to take notice. This is evident in the growth of organisations such as YRP and WiR and in the actions of organisations such as the National Skills Academy for Rail, RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) and Rail Delivery Group alongside leading industry figures to address this inequality. But we need to all keep doing more and changing our behaviours, to let the country and the world know that(1) Rail is open for anyone with the right skills and (2) that we are not all engineers and train drivers. There are literally hundreds of different roles essential to keep our industry running.

Rail Week 2017 is yours and the industry’s opportunity to spread that message. Bringing together organisations and business from across the sector, this is a week that celebrates the diversity of opportunities available within the railway industry and opens doors for 100’s of school, college and university students across the UK to see what career may await them in Rail.

The industry won’t change in a day. But I’m looking forward to doing my part in changing our image and attracting the best talent, to ensure we are and continue to be a sector known for change, innovation and inclusiveness.


Bringing the industry together to show what it really means to work in rail


Rail Week 2017, the brainchild of the professional networking association Young Rail Professionals (YRP), began this Monday 9 October, with a series of events dedicated to address the skills shortage in the rail industry by inspiring a generation of young people to consider careers in rail. The annual events runs until Sunday 15 October.

Over 50 special visits and events, as well as inspiring talks have taken place throughout the week up and down the country, as part of a widespread school’s outreach programme. It is estimated that the week of events alone will have engaged over 800 young people and their influencer.

The initiative supported by the industry including the Rail Delivery Group, Transport for London, Network Rail, the Department for Transport, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategies, Train and Freight Operating Companies and the supply chain, aims to breakdown stereotypes of what it means to work in rail and showcase the huge range of people and careers needed to keep people moving now and in the future.

Highlights during Rail Week include; a visit to the GWR Reading Train Care Depot; the UK’s largest Rail Careers “High” Speed Networking event; the opportunity to see state-of-the-art trains close at the Three Bridges maintenance facility; and a tour of Freightliner terminal at Basford Hall, Crewe.

May-Ann Lew, Rail Week project lead, Young Rail Professionals and Consultant at SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit: “Rail Week is our opportunity to showcase the range of different careers and skills in our sector and encourage people from all backgrounds to join rail. There are so many exciting and innovative rail projects coming to fruition and it is essential we attract young people to ensure they are delivered. We have had loads of great events so far and the enthusiasm from teachers, students and the industry has been amazing.”

Rail Minister Paul Maynard commented: “We are delivering record levels of investment to support the biggest modernisation of the rail network since the Victorian era, and our growing rail network means we will need thousands more people working in the sector in the years ahead.

“I’m delighted to be supporting Rail Week, which highlights the huge range of careers, skills and opportunities open to people from every background. We want to inspire young people, to give them the chance to see that they can make a difference in the rail industry, and it is great that companies across our thriving sector are reaching out to schools, colleges and universities to attract the next generation of rail professionals.”

River Tamoor Baig, Chief Executive & Founder of Hack Partner who are hosting an idea-thon with two London schools said: “Aside from the health, there is no other industry that has such a massive impact into the daily lives of people. Whether that’s using the train to go to school, work, or to meet loved ones – we all eventually find ourselves using the rail network some point in our lives.

“Rail needs more young creative thinkers and engineering talent to help it address the needs for the next generation of travellers, this can only be achieved if ambitious young people enter the fray and help create the future.”

Newcastle Rail Academy student witness emergency response demo

Key Stage 1 & 2 students visiting RTS Depot in Leeds

Rail Week Day 1 Highlights

Rail Week Day 1 – 9th Oct 2017

Rail Week 2017 started off with a bang! In case you’ve missed something, here are some key highlights of the day…

Success at School launched the Rail Week Takeover on their online forum where students, parents and teachers can ask real employer rail career questions. See the questions here . Check out the 60 second interview with a Rail Apprentice along with various career advise articles provided by Young Rail Professionals and other rail companies! More to come throughout the week…

Two new Rail Academies opened in the North to support and develop the young people the rail industry needs now and into the future. Rail Week Day 1 saw the opening of the National College of High Speed Rail in Doncaster which was live on BBC Breakfast. The opening event was also supported by Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, Sir Terry Morgan and the supply chain. On 4th October, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling opened the Alstom Rail Academy in Widnes which will train 500 apprentices in 5 years!

Students starting at NCHSR with BBC Breakfast Steph

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling meeting the new apprentices at Alstom Rail Academy

Monday is not over yet…

Rail Delivery Group hosted 40 students at their offices in London with a session on “Introduction to Rail Industry for a new generation”, Network Rail’s staff visited Moulsham High School to talk about Railway Safety Awareness and was interviewed by students on the school’s radio, Newcastle College Rail Academy hosted “Route Options Project” with their students, students from Frances Bardsley School visited Ilford Depot, Atkins staff at Millthorpe School’s Exploring Pathways event in York and London Underground invited year 8 & 9 students to learn about the exciting and challenging Deep Tube Upgrade Programme!

Network Rail Ryan interviewed by Moulsham High School students

Students visiting RDG Offices in London


To see all the conversations and photos hot of the pan, follow us on Twitter @railweek and our collaborators! We can’t wait to see what the rest of Rail Week has to offer….

Rail Week 2017 is finally here

Rail Week 2017, the brainchild of the professional networking association Young Rail Professionals (YRP), began this Monday 9 October, with a series of events dedicated to inspiring a generation of young people to consider careers in rail.  The annual events runs until Sunday 15 October.

Rail Week is proud to welcome back collaborators such as Rail Delivery Group, Transport for London, Network Rail, CrossCountry Trains, Chiltern Trains, Freightliner, Siemens, Hitachi Rail Europe, Bombardier Transportation, Atkins, Newcastle College Rail Academy and many more, who are all playing a key part in addressing the transport industry skills agenda. 

This year Rail Week is also welcoming new collaborators to joint this amazing initiative to showcase more of what the rail industry has to offer. We are looking forward to working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Great Western Railway, Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnerships, CPC Projects, Knorr-Bermse, GB Railfreight, Hack Partners, Furrer+Frey, Transport for the North, KOPTA, RT Training Solutions, Belfour Beatty Rail, Linbrooke Total Network Solutions, and Nimble Media, during this year’s Rail Week and into the future.


We have also increased our engagement with education institutions and welcome Falmouth, Plymouth and Exeter University, Success at Schools, The National College of High Speed Rail and The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London to join this initiative and better support their students.


Rail Week 2017 is surely looking to be bigger and better! Many events are already confirmed on our website. Go behind the scenes with depot and station tours, learn about the latest rail projects such as Crossrail 2 and Deep Tube Upgrade Programme, go on a “High” Speed Networking with over 50 rail professionals from across the industry, competitions, career fairs and many more.

See the full list of events here.

Rail Week 2017 is Here!

Spread the news and follow us and our friends on social media. It’s time to get everyone involved!

Success at School

We’ve teamed up with Success at School to give schools and careers advisors information on rail careers.

For 2 weeks, students and teachers can ask a Rail Employer your questions about a career in rail.

Success at School will be hosting a dedicated Rail Forum from 9th October, a place where schools and colleges can #AskAnEmployer their top careers questions to help students plan their futures in the rail industry. Access the Rail Forum here

There is also plenty of advice about the rail industry here and a blog on busting myths in rail.