PlanBEE Rail

PlanBEE Rail is a new and unique higher apprenticeship programme designed to recruit and train the next generation of multi-disciplinary project managers.

You’ll have a real job from day one, where you’ll learn ‘on the job’ for four days, gaining experience working on major projects including the TransPennine Route Upgrade Programme, Digital Railway Programme & Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Developed by Network Rail, its supply chain partners and Gateshead College, the programme prepares you for a career in rail project management with a strong emphasis on digital skills and multi-disciplinary team working. 

On a typical day you might have to meet with your key stakeholders, write project management or engineering plans, or visit sites to check the progress of the work being undertaken.

During the 2-year programme you’ll rotate around four different employers so you get a flavour of the wide variety of project management roles in the industry. 

Placements will be undertaken in the York, Leeds, Doncaster, and Huddersfield areas, working on projects across the north of England. 

You’ll also spend one day a week studying and developing your knowledge of the rail industry and project management.

From the moment you join, you'll be a valuable member of the team and we'll make sure your work is well rewarded. 

So, we won’t just train you for a well-paid career; we’ll pay you a starting salary of circa £22,000 per year from day one. Plus you’ll also benefit from a pension plan and a generous annual holiday entitlement.

PlanBEE Rail builds on the national award-winning PlanBEE programme for the construction industry which has been running successfully in the North East for 8 years, expanding to Manchester in 2021 and London in 2023.

Our sponsor employers include:


During your four placements, you’ll get involved in a wide range of tasks and no two days will be the same, these include:

  • Supporting the planning and delivery of existing projects to meet agreed milestones and targets
  • Attending T- meetings with internal and external stakeholders to discuss things like the programme, delays and costs
  • Updating project planning sheets from meetings
  • Contributing to the Asset Management Process (AMP) and communicating with Network Rail, the client & stakeholders
  • Communicating information quickly and accurately both verbally and in writing
  • Collating, recording and and presenting information to support the project team
  • Monitoring and analysing financial data to inform budget planning and cost management;
  • Using and interpreting project management tools and systems
  • Working alongside other project managers helping to coordinate projects
  • Producing documents and reports using office and project management tools and software
  • Attending site visits both (on and off track) and contributing to tasks such as recording monitoring, and analyzing project progress, conducting ecology surveys, Environmental Health and Safety Visits, Progress Update Visits
  • Tracking compliance in corporate health, safety, quality and environment processes for the programme.
  • Attending partnership, recruitment any other events that helps to promote partners and the programme
  • Writing Project Management & Engineering Plans (PMPs/EMPs)

You will complete a Higher Apprenticeship programme in Associate Project Management, underpinned by day release study, providing a pathway to professional accreditation and further study at a wide range of universities.

You will spend one day a week studying and developing your knowledge of the rail industry and project management and will be taught about different stages of the project lifecycle including design, development, delivery and close-out, through a combination of lectures, tutorials, field work and site visits

Throughout your apprenticeship you will be developing a range of skills and behaviours which are key to a project management role in the rail sector, alongside transferable skills like team working, leadership, innovation and communication.

The programme lasts 2 years and offers a real alternative to full-time university.

  • GCSE Maths, Science and English at grade 4 or above,
  • 3 A Levels at grade C or above, or a BTEC Extended Diploma (averaging merits/distinctions), or the equivalent of 96 UCAS points.
  • Eligible to live, work and study in the UK

Beyond your academic qualifications, we'll be looking for evidence that you're genuinely enthusiastic about developing a career in the rail industry.

You'll also be analytical, methodical and good at solving problems, as well as articulate, driven and a fast learner. 

A willingness to travel for work and study would also be expected, so a full driving license would be desirable.

Applications for September 2024 are now open. 

Step 1: Information, Advice and Guidance

We strongly recommend that you come along to a Meet the Employers event before you submit your application form.

The event will give you the opportunity to find out more about PlanBEE Rail and ask any questions you may have about the employment and study elements of the programme. 

Click here to sign up


Step 2: Application

Complete and submit the application form by close of play on 21st April by clicking the link below. 

We will let you know we have received it. 

Click here to start your application.


Step 3: Shortlisting

We will then shortlist your form against the set criteria. If you meet the criteria you will be invited for interview and assessment.


Step 4: Interview & Assessment

If you are successfully shortlisted, you will be asked to complete our assessments from 6th – 10th May. 

Dependent on the results of the assessments, you’ll then be invited to a formal interview with a panel of employers which will take place between 28th – 31st May.


Step 5: Success - you've got the job!

If you're successful at interview, you will be contacted within 1 week and told the good news. 

If not, we will work with you to advise on other options available to you.


APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN FOR SEPTEMBER 2024. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU ATTEND OUR MEET THE EMPLOYERS EVENT BEFORE SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION.


Click here to sign up to the event.

Click here to start your application.