A group of apprentices has been recruited in partnership with Transport for London to maintain the Epping Ongar Railway heritage line and as work continues towards providing passengers with a connection to the London Underground.
The group, which started work on 9th January 2012, has been employed by Manchester-based Vital Rail, which has set itself an ambitious target to recruit and train 270 apprentices across the UK by June 2012.
Each of the 270 apprentices will complete an Intermediate Apprenticeship in Rail Engineering with Vital Skills Training – a qualification for those who want to work in the rail transport industry that combines theoretical work with hands-one training in a realistic work environment, leading to a Level 2 NVQ.
Part of Vital Services Group, Vital Skills Training is one of the largest suppliers of training services for the rail, energy, mechanical & electrical and construction sectors and the success of current projects has prompted the company to invest further in Apprenticeships.
In Manchester, 50 young people will complete an Apprenticeship, as will a group of 24 apprentices who will work on a project in Staffordshire to restore part of the Foxfield heritage railway at Stoke-on-Trent.
Lawrence Dobie, operations manager at Vital Skills Training, explains why the company has set itself such an ambitious target: “The rail industry needs an injection of fresh, young talent in order to prepare for forthcoming major infrastructure projects, such as HS2,” he said.
“With an increasing number of young people looking for an alternative route to university, Vital is committed to plugging the rail sector skills gap, as an expert training provider in that field. The advancement of theUK’s rail network is essential to the country’s economic and environmental development which is why we are investing on this intensive recruitment programme to secure a strong workforce of the future.”
Chris Marsack, Infrastructure Manager at Epping Ongar Railway, added: “We are pleased to welcome Vital and the apprentices to Epping Ongar Railway on this ‘win-win’ project. The railway provides an ideal real-life classroom, enabling the students to learn and practice skills and the safe practices needed to advance their careers, with the added benefit that the works they undertake helps our volunteer teams as we maintain the closest heritage railway to London.”