A new initiative from Amey and Great Western Railway aims to give apprentices a more rounded view of what railway engineering involves.
As in any endeavour, railway engineers rely heavily on experience. In their careers, exposure to previous challenges prepares them for the next one.
How, then, to impart such varied experiences to young engineers just starting out?
It’s a problem that was aired at Network Rail’s Engineering Directors Forum just a few months ago, and the companies represented suggested that swapping trainees, so they learn about other aspects of the industry, could well be the way to go.
Now comes news that a leading engineering consultancy (Amey) and a major train operator (GWR) have done just that.
Nine apprentices from each company will switch places as part of the £7.5 billion Great Western modernisation project. The apprentices will have the experience of working on train overhauls, high-output plant and on-track machines.
Amey competency manager Andrew Morley said: “Our partnership with GWR will allow our apprentices to see the impact of their work and understand how the work we do contributes to the delivery of outstanding service to rail passengers.”
GWR’s regional apprentice manager Steve Jones agreed: “An electrification project of this magnitude has not been seen on the GWR network before, and this exchange scheme puts our helpful and friendly apprentices very much in the front line, providing them with valuable skills and experience.
“Schemes such as this can only enhance their learning and development.”