Nexus’ apprentice scheme is going from strength to strength as they seek to address the dual challenges of an ageing workforce and a national engineering skills shortage. 54 apprentices have been employed since 2013 with most going on to secure permanent full-time employment after completing their apprenticeships.
New trainees – in the age bracket of 17 to 34 – have recently been recruited and will be training as railway engineers, earning them the requisite skills needed to look after the trains, the 77km network of tracks and other key pieces of infrastructure, including ticket machines. Others will also be working within key business units in Nexus such as rail timetable planning and information technology.
The rail engineering apprentices get on the job training and at Newcastle College’s Rail Academy, a bespoke facility which offers a unique training environment to help the rail industry meet its skill shortages by providing a range of specialist training dedicated to rail infrastructure.
Heather Blevins, Head of Learning at Nexus, said: “Apprenticeships are vital for the long term future of the Tyne and Wear Metro. Vocational training is a great route for young people to go down. They learn a bespoke trade and then have a good chance of getting a permanent job at the end of the apprenticeship. They will get first class training, opening the door to a brilliant career in the railway and public transport industry. At a time when there is a skills shortage in this sector it is vital that we invest in training and development to ensure that we continue to deliver the essential services to our passengers for many more years to come.”
John Fenwick, Director of Finance and Resources at Nexus, added: “his is the second consecutive year that we have offered opportunities in addition to the more traditional engineering apprenticeships. The average age of our most recent recruits is 21, so it’s evident that we are now receiving applications that we wouldn’t have got, even in the recent past. All of this bodes well for Nexus at such a busy and exciting time for Metro as we seek to introduce our new train fleet and bid for more government funding that will allow us to continue carrying out enhancements to the infrastructure.”