HS2 announces hundreds more apprenticeship jobs

UK: The variety of roles available across the rail industry and the opportunities for career development are being highlighted as part of National Apprenticeship Week from February 6–12. This year’s theme is Skills for Life, showcasing how apprenticeships can help people to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career.

‘There has never been a better time to become an apprentice working in the rail industry, with countless opportunities to access a brilliant career’, said the Railway Industry Association’s EDI & Skills Lead Isabella Lawson. ’It is clear that the industry needs more apprentices, with

the National Skills Academy for Rail estimating that 5 000 apprentices per year are needed to address skills shortages.’

Five reasons why

NSAR has set out five reasons why people should consider an apprenticeship:

  • Gain real-world skills, to put you ahead in your chosen field;
  • Earn while you learn;
  • A wide range of apprenticeships. NSAR says there is a misconception that apprenticeships are only for physical work like construction, when in reality they are available for just about any field including IT, engineering, finance, human resources, marketing, project management and sustainability;
  • One-on-one guidance and support as you learn, supported by experts with a wealth of knowledge about the skills you are learning, the roles these skills can be applied to and how the sector works;
  • Contribute to your local area or move somewhere new.

Govia Thameslink Railway

GTR apprenticeships

Train operator Govia Thameslink Railway has set itself a target of 220 employees starting an apprenticeship this year, a 20% increase on last year when Passenger Transport Operative and Learning & Development Practitioner courses were added in response to business needs and employee feedback.

Last year 42% of those starting a GTR apprenticeship were aged 31 to 40, and a third identified as black & minority ethnic.

Kevin Wheat, 51, is training to be a driver following a career as a paramedic. ‘I was looking for a change’, he said. ’Swapping careers later in life was pretty scary, but I’m relishing the opportunity to learn new skills. What’s even better is that my son has also joined the company and he’s studying towards an engineering apprenticeship, so we can help each other out.’

Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia

Fully-funded apprenticeships are offered to all Greater Anglia staff, regardless of age or career stage.

‘There’s a perception that apprenticeships are just for those fresh out of school, but that’s really not the case’, said Viktorija Novikova, Early Careers & Apprenticeship Manager. ‘They can be started at any age and can provide a wealth of skills that you didn’t have before, all the while being given support and guidance — meaning our staff can really hit their full potential, no matter what their role.’

Great Western Railway


Learning & Development Manager Andrew Perry says GWR is ‘pushing the boundaries to ensure our provision is up to date, challenging and future-proof’.

Quest apprenticeships were introduced in 2020, enabling staff to gain formal qualifications alongside their day-to-day roles, and GWR has received gold accreditation as part of the Investors in People We Invest in Apprentices programme.

During National Apprenticeship Week GWR will be represented at the Apprenticeship Expo at Exeter College, while members of its apprentice team will attend stations across the network offering advice to customers and answering questions.

High Speed 2

HS2 launches its biggest ever apprenticeship recruitment drive

More than 1 100 people have already secured an apprenticeship on the High Speed 2 project, and the total is expected to reach 2 000.

A further 80 roles go live this week, including opportunities within HS2 Ltd’s procurement, project management, HR, IT and land and property teams. Construction contractors and their supply chain are also recruiting for over 50 roles including tunnelling, civil engineering, stakeholder engagement, scaffolding and plant operations.

‘I’d encourage anyone, whether starting out in their career, or looking for a complete change of direction, to take a look at what we can offer’, said Natalie Penrose, Head of Legacy at HS2 Ltd. ‘The ability to earn and learn means it’s never too late to pursue a different profession, and with opportunities in over 30 different subject areas, there really is something for everyone.’

HS2’s contractor Balfour Beatty Vinci is to recruit more than 40 apprentices, building on the 165 it has already employed, with opportunities including civil engineering, quantity surveying, information management and document control.

BBV’s 20 biggest subcontractors have committed to ensuring that at least 5% of their workforce are apprentices. Tunnelcraft is recruiting for 10 tunnelling operative apprentices, while Mott MacDonald and Systra are seeking digital design and business administration apprentices and Flannery is recruiting plant operatives.


Megan Cooke Apprentice Train Driver at LNER

‘An ideal apprentice is someone who is passionate about development and learning new skills with a huge variety of roles available in the railway industry’, according to Claire Ansley, People & Customer Experience Director at LNER which currently has more than 150 apprentices ranging from train driving and engineering to HR and finance.

Train Manager Rahnum Ishtiaq recently completed an apprenticeship. ‘I had the opportunity to shadow someone who was experienced and to learn from them, one-to-one’, he said. ‘Showing empathy, showing you care and listening are all key skills, as well as learning to deal with incidents by yourself. Learning from experienced colleagues has really helped enhance those skills in addition to our formal training.’


Image shows apprentices using VR technology at Northern training academy

Among the next opportunities due to be advertised by Northern in March and May will be 26 train driver apprenticeships based at depots including Darlington, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and York.

In 2022, Northern was officially recognised by OFSTED as a Main Provider of apprenticeships, enabling it to offer industry-leading training services to other operators and rail organisations.

Northern is also a patron of the Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance which promotes social mobility, diversity and inclusion.

‘Each and every one of the graduates from our academies has the potential to be an industry leader of the future — bringing their skills, talent and ideas to the table’, said COO Tricia Williams.

Transport for Wales

Apprenticeship Academy

TfW has joined The 5% Club of more than 700 employers which have committed to raising the number of apprentices, sponsored students and graduates on formal programmes to 5% of their total workforce within five years.

It has taken on 122 apprentices over the past year, providing opportunities in engineering, operational and head office roles.


VolkerFitzpatrick apprentices

Apprenticeship opportunities in site and office-based roles from a Level 4 up to degree level are offered by VolkerFitzpatrick

‘My apprenticeship allowed me to gain invaluable experience, whilst studying for my degree in civil engineering, and the opportunity to contribute to the construction of major infrastructure, such as the Luton DART’, said Eleanor Jackson, who is now a site engineer working on Brent Cross West station. ‘As the company has many different disciplines, I was lucky to experience multiple aspects of engineering within a rail environment.’