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Apprentice Railway Engineering Design Technician

What is NSAR

The National Skills Academy for Rail Ltd (NSAR) was established for wider railway industry support to help tackle current and future skills needs within the rail industry. Apprentice Railway Engineering Design Technicians can be found in companies who are members of NSAR, such as Atkins & CH2M, and other top industry companies, such as Aecom, Arcadis Consulting, Arup, UKPNS and WSP

What is an Apprentice Railway Engineering Design Technician?

DID YOU KNOW? Rail design technicians can be involved in a whole range of projects including track and bridge design, signalling, telecoms, electrification and plant.

If you’re looking for a route into a design engineering career and you’ve got the GCSEs (or their equivalents) to create a solid foundation for your skills and knowledge, this could be the perfect opportunity to lay down the tracks for a career that’s going places.

As an apprentice, your job will involve designing the railway infrastructure. Using CAD (computer-aided design) you’ll create and annotate technical drawings, putting technical knowledge gained through classroom-based learning and on-the-job training into practice. The technical drawings you work on can be used for a number of different railway assets including overhead lines, bridges and signalling systems.

You’ll also be involved in the analysis of data to do with the design of the railway, using software systems. You’ll gather and analyse data, then use it to annotate technical drawings and spot potential engineering issues.

Like the idea of being supported to grow and take on responsibility? You’ll also be involved in railway engineering project management. This could involve helping to manage engineering projects by setting deadlines for the design of projects and working to deadlines.

As an apprentice, you’ll get the chance to work on construction sites. You’ll check the progress and quality of construction, ensuring that the construction is to plan and fits the technical drawings that you helped to produce.

What does an Apprentice Railway Engineering Design Technician do?

As an apprentice railway engineering design technician, you’ll be working both in an office and onsite on many different aspects of railway engineering. You’ll assist more senior engineers who design infrastructure and systems for the railway in many different projects, which could include signalling, track, communications and electrification. You’ll be involved in the design, planning and site engineering of railway engineering projects.

When working on the design aspect of railway engineering, you could be involved in surveying a site, producing design drawings using CAD (computer-aided design), assisting the development of technical solutions and using your maths skills to carry out calculations needed for the design of the railway.

You’ll also be involved in the planning of railway engineering projects. This could involve helping to project manage projects and ensuring that the design is ready in the set time frame.

Is a career in railway engineering design right for me?

Got a keen eye for detail, an interest in railway engineering and an appetite for learning? Want a career where you’ll use a wide range of skills every day?

If that sounds like you, then a career in railway engineering could be the answer.

You’ll also find it useful to feel confident in maths, as part of the apprenticeship scheme involves working towards a qualification in engineering (e.g. a BTEC) which will include maths elements. Maths will also help you when creating CAD drawings, as measurements and scale are important to get right.

How to become an Apprentice Railway Engineering Design Technician

In order to become an apprentice railway engineering design technician, you’ll need good GCSE grades in English, maths and science to be accepted onto an apprenticeship programme.

Having some relevant work experience – for example, in an engineering company - will also prove handy for your application. It’ll show the employer that you have a passion for engineering and want to make a career out of it.

There are also graduate positions within railway engineering. Typically you’ll need to have done an engineering degree to successfully apply for these.

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