Expenses-paid MSc for rail project managers

Network Rail has found a novel way to ensure it has all the project managers it needs - by launching a master of science (MSc) course in project management. The company will sponsor 80 students through a fully funded course starting this September.

Network Rail was recently named as one of the first three companies in the UK given awarding body status by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). The company, which describes itself as Britain̵7;s largest deliverer of projects, owns and manages the country's railway infrastructure.

The one-year postgraduate course is designed to attract and develop future project managers and has been tailored specifically for Network Rail. It is being run in partnership with University College London (UCL) and the University of Warwick, which are the awarding bodies.

The course will include Network Rail-specific modules and as part of their study students will work alongside experienced Network Rail project managers to build practical skills. This initiative is designed to complement the other project management skills development available internally and to help provide a world-class training scheme.

Network Rail will pay for the course fees, cost of accommodation and a bursary. After successful progress on the programme, the students will join Network Rail as assistant project managers on a salary of up to £27,000.

Simon Kirby, Network Rail̵7;s director, infrastructure investment said: ̶0;In the next five years we will be delivering over £20bn-worth of projects as we seek to build a bigger and better railway. To do this we need high-calibre people and this ground-breaking scheme will attract those to rewarding careers at Network Rail.̶1;

The company was widely criticised for poor management of engineering works at Christmas, which led to widespread disruption when some projects over-ran. As a result, the company is changing the way it plans and manages work, creating military-style command posts to oversee activities. Widespread engineering works planned for Easter will provide the first significant test of the new system.

Further information:

Image: The new course aims to provide high-calibre project managers for the rail industry [Network Rail]

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