Shunt forwards for women rail apprentices

Network Rail's push for more female apprentices will help improve job opportunities for women in the rail industry.

Currently only around 2 per cent of applications to Network Rail’s award-winning apprenticeship scheme, launched in 2005, come from women.

Ian Coucher, chief executive of the organisation, which owns and operates Britain's rail infrastructure, said: “We need more exceptional women to join us at Network Rail. I'm sure that they are being put off by an outdated image of what we do and what we need. This is a scandalous waste.”

Network Rail is embarking on a campaign to attract more female applicants by featuring its women employees in adverts and case studies, and by asking them to appear at careers fairs and talk at events. 

The organisation will also target its recruitment campaigns at magazines and websites read by women, and in girls' schools.

There will also be a revamped Network Rail website for the apprentice scheme, including video blogs and profiles of current female apprentices sharing their experience.

Mr Coucher continued: "The image of the railway as an old-fashioned, heavy industry is not the picture of what I see today. I see a modern company, using 21st century technology needing a highly skilled workforce to maintain and deliver a successful and growing railway.

“All of us; industry, educators and Government, must work harder to promote the fantastic career opportunities open to both men and women in the rail industry and engineering as a whole. If not, Britain will miss out on leading the world in this field."

In a recent GlideInsight survey for Network Rail, when asked who was best suited to a career in railway engineering, 47 per cent of those polled said mainly or only men.

For further information, please view the NetworkRail website.

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