Spotlight on rail apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to get started in the rail industry and can lead to an exciting and rewarding career. But how does it all work? What’s involved? And what exactly will you be doing during your apprenticeship?

We take a look at apprenticeships in more detail, to explore how they can kick start a long and rewarding career in the rail industry.

How apprenticeships work

They’re hands-on, giving you the chance to learn skills in a practical setting. Working out on the track through a technical apprenticeship, you will learn how to use equipment and machinery safely and efficiently, as well as gaining knowledge of health and safety legislation that affects rail workers.

This is supported with traditional learning, by attending sessions at a local college or through distance learning. This is an important part of your apprenticeship and helps you to gain a formal qualification.

Around 240,000 people are employed across the rail industry, from passenger services to infrastructure and maintenance so the sector provides some great career prospects.

Rail apprenticeships cover a range of topics

There are a range of qualifications available for rail apprenticeships. These include engineering, maintenance and safety positions.

Through an apprenticeship you’ll get the opportunity to understand how the UK’s rail infrastructure network operates, what maintenance is needed to ensure services can run safely, and gain the technical skills needed to undertake contracting work.

Apprenticeships are open to people of all ages, genders and backgrounds

Many people think apprenticeships are just for school leavers, who are looking for an alternative to further education. That’s not the case though, as apprenticeships are available to people of all ages. This means they can provide a great chance to make a career change, to retrain and learn new skills. As well as providing long-term career prospects for young people.

People from all walks of life can enjoy a career in the rail industry, with a great deal of progress having been made over the last decade to ensure workplaces are inclusive. If you’re interested in a career in the rail industry, but don’t have any experience or qualifications, then an apprenticeship could be a great way to get started.

Learning a profession

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to progress with a new career. You’ll gain valuable skills and experience, as well as earning money while you learn.

Rail apprenticeships can last from two to four years, giving lots of chances to put the knowledge you’ll learn to good use out on the railway tracks.

Searching for apprentice opportunities

If you’re looking to join the industry through an apprenticeship scheme, then the best place to start looking is on the Government’s dedicated website.

On you’ll be able to find out more about the apprenticeship scheme and search for rail vacancies.

Joining NRL through an apprenticeship

Our current window to apply for an apprenticeship working in NRL’s Rail business is currently closed, but if you’d like to register your interest then we’d love to hear from you.

We’re always looking at opportunities to introduce apprentice roles across our Rail contracting operations, so everyone interested is invited to send a copy of their CV to

send your cv

NRL Rail