INFRA Skills, in collaboration with Colas Rail, proudly presents the UK’s inaugural Level 3 Trailblazers Rail Apprentice Scheme. This groundbreaking program provides aspiring individuals with a pathway into the rail sector while nurturing their scientific, technical, engineering, mathematical, and design skillsets. As the demand for high-quality apprenticeships grows, this scheme sets a new standard by offering flexibility and focusing on industry needs.
Creating a Path to Success
The UK Government’s introduction of new Apprenticeship Standards, known as Trailblazers, necessitates a fresh approach to apprenticeship development. INFRA Skills, awarded the prestigious ‘Gold Standard’ by the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR), worked closely with Colas Rail to design a bespoke apprenticeship program. This initiative aims to empower learners by equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the rail sector.
NSAR Supports Industry-Focused Apprenticeships
As a leading industry voice, NSAR fully endorses the INFRA Skills and Colas Rail partnership in their mission to enhance Rail Apprenticeships. NSAR’s Chief Operating Officer, Kim Millen, expresses delight in the collaboration, acknowledging the need for high-quality Level 3 and above apprenticeships. The industry welcomes this scheme as a crucial step forward in meeting industry demands.
Professional Development and Technical Expertise
INFRA Skills is pleased to offer each apprentice complimentary membership to the Permanent Way Institution (PWI). This membership demonstrates their commitment to professional development and grants them the privilege of using ‘MPWI’ after their name. Furthermore, apprentices completing the scheme and attaining their Level 3 qualification will possess the track experience required to register with the Engineering Council as Engineering Technicians (‘EngTech MPWI’). The apprentices are encouraged to participate in PWI meetings, events, and utilize technical resources to enhance their knowledge.
Core Areas and Comprehensive Training
ATS (Accredited Training and Assessments Providers) will support the apprentices as they progress through the three core sections of the apprenticeship scheme. The program commences with the Level 3 Rail Engineering Technician Knowledge (Track), providing learners with foundational knowledge in infrastructure assessment, maintenance, and track geometry. Subsequently, apprentices gain expertise in safe access to Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) construction sites through the Level 3 Rail Engineering Technician Knowledge (OLE). The final part of the apprenticeship focuses on signal engineering, with apprentices undertaking the Level 3 Diplomas for Rail Engineering Technicians Competence (Signalling). This comprehensive framework covers equipment maintenance, fault finding, installation, testing, and adherence to safety regulations and procedures.
Unlocking Opportunities in the Rail Sector
By addressing key industry requirements, the apprenticeship scheme reduces barriers faced by young individuals seeking employment. Successful graduates will be well-equipped to seize exciting opportunities in a thriving sector that continues to receive substantial investment. Dave Anderson, Technical Competency Manager at Colas Rail, praises the scheme, stating it has received positive feedback and highlights it as the best initiative he has been involved with during his railway career.
A Lasting Legacy
Richard Toy, CEO of Auctus Management Group Limited, emphasizes that the unveiling of the UK’s first Trailblazers Apprenticeship demonstrates a commitment to creating opportunities within a sector grappling with skills shortages and an aging workforce. By delivering an apprenticeship that caters to industry needs, this collaboration ensures the rail sector’s sustainability, growth, and the inspiration of a new generation of industry leaders.
Conclusion: The launch of the UK’s first Level 3 Trailblazers Rail Apprentice Scheme, a partnership between INFRA Skills and Colas Rail, marks a significant milestone in the rail sector. This innovative program provides aspiring apprentices with a direct route into the industry, empowering them with essential skills and knowledge. By embracing this opportunity, apprentices can embark on a rewarding career in a sector poised for growth and transformation.