Nexus and Gateshead College team up to create 30 new rail apprentice posts

Nexus today announced it is to create 30 apprentice posts in a major expansion of its engineering training programme to be delivered in partnership with expert provider Gateshead College.

Nexus, which owns, manages and is modernising the Tyne and Wear Metro, has unveiled its advanced engineering apprenticeship scheme, which starts this September, and has brought in the college to work in partnership delivering apprenticeship training for the new employees who start this September.

The apprenticeship programme is as important to the future of Metro as the current £385m modernisation projects, as Nexus seeks to revitalise an ageing workforce on the light rail system, some of whom go back to the opening of Metro more than 30 years ago.

Recruitment is underway to secure applicants for the three year programme, which will eventually see 30 apprentices – 10 new people every year – undertake the course, gaining the expertise for careers working as part of Nexus’ highly skilled maintenance and technical teams maintaining and modernising the Metro system.

Nexus has a long history of employing apprentices but is more than doubling the size of its programme from 4 to 10 new starters per year for the next three years, to ensure vital skills are retained as the profile of its current rail engineering workforce gets older.

Gateshead College is one of the region’s leading providers of apprenticeships and will be working with Nexus for the first time to deliver a tailor made programme covering all aspects of rail engineering including electrical and mechanical, signalling and communications training.

Individuals on the apprenticeship programme will spend their first year on block release within the college’s Team Valley campus as well as receiving training in the workplace.

This will lead to them achieving an NVQ Level 2 Performing Engineering Operations and BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Electrical/Electronic Engineering. They will also gain English, Maths and IT skills at Level 2.

In the second and third years, they will continue their studies through day release at college, building on the engineering principles gained in the first year and equipping them with advanced technical skills as they work towards an NVQ Level 3 in Railway Engineering.

The Nexus and college partnership hopes to build on its industry expertise through a new regional centre for excellence – a Rail Academy – to deliver the type of apprenticeships the transport operator and other employers will require for future operations.

Bernard Garner, Nexus Director General, said that through collaborative partnerships like this Nexus and the UK industry will get the skilled and talented people in place to ensure that the sector remains competitive for decades to come.

He added: “We are investing £385m to modernise Metro but it is just as important we maintain and reinvigorate our workforce with new talent.

“This is why we have made the commitment to appoint 30 new apprentices and work with an expert training partner in Gateshead College.

“We are acting now to guarantee cherished engineering skills and expertise are not lost as people retire, ensuring that we are able to continue to provide the best service for the 38 million passengers who rely on Metro get the highest standards of reliability.

“Alongside our recent creation of 60 new posts in rail maintenance, the 30 new apprenticeships demonstrate how investing in Metro modernisation is creating and sustaining skilled jobs in our region.”

Although primarily aimed at 16 to 18 year olds, the apprenticeship will be open to anyone, who have gained or are expected to achieve in 2013 four GCSEs at grade A to C or equivalent including English, Maths and Science or Engineering, and will see learners with an annual salary of £8,400 with a potential for an £1,150 bonus subject to performance.

The news about the Nexus apprentices comes ahead of National Apprenticeship Week (11-15 March) which is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy

Mick Brophy, managing director of business innovation and development at Gateshead College, said: “It’s great to see another major North East employer investing in apprenticeships. They are a highly beneficial way for a business to retain skills and talent and secure the future development of the workforce.

“The commitment to a long term programme like this provides a strong foundation for individuals to flourish and develop. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to build a career by gaining skills and training while earning a wage.

“The opportunity to join Nexus is good news for anyone looking for an interesting career offering new challenges every day, and we’re delighted to be working with Nexus.

“The college is committed to apprenticeships and this is another great example of how we partner closely with North East employers to deliver the qualifications and training they want.”

Anyone looking to apply for the Nexus apprenticeship will have to complete an application form. Application forms and information regarding the recruitment process are available on line at www.nexus.org.uk and clicking on Job Vacancies at the bottom of the Home page. More about Gateshead College apprenticeships can be found at www.gateshead.ac.uk/apprenticeships or email apprenticeships@gateshead.ac.uk.

Completed Application Forms should be received by Nexus before the 30th April 2013 and will be processed on a first come first served basis, once we have received sufficient applications we may close the recruitment process to new candidates before this date. Candidates who are not contacted before the 31st May 2013 will not have been successful.