New apprentices are looking to kick start their careers with the Tyne and Wear Metro.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has taken on the new trainees, whose ages range from 17 to 34, on its apprenticeship scheme as it seeks to address the challenges of an ageing workforce and a national engineering skills shortage.
Nexus has successfully recruited 54 apprentices since 2013, with most of them going on to secure permanent full-time employment after serving their time as trainees.
Most of the latest recruits will be training as railway engineers, earning them the requisite skills needed to look after Metro’s trains, the 77km network of tracks and other key pieces of infrastructure, including Nexus’ fleet of ticket vending machines, whilst others will be working within key business units in Nexus.
There are also roles for apprentices in other departments, including rail timetable planning and information technology.
Head of Learning at Nexus, Heather Blevins, 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.”
The rail engineering apprentices get training on the job and at Newcastle College’s Rail Academy, a bespoke facility which offers a unique training environment to help the railway industry meet its skill shortages by providing a range of specialist training dedicated to rail infrastructure.
John Fenwick, Director of Finance and Resources at Nexus, said: “This 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.”
In 2015 Nexus recruited its first female engineering apprentices in more than two decades. Samantha Corkin and Morgan Saville have both since gone on to secure permanent jobs at Nexus.
Nexus is working in partnership with four training providers: Newcastle College, Gateshead College, Train’d up and QA Limited.