Working as an employee or contractor with a company that specialises in railway-related operations can be a great career choice. It allows for the development of extremely useful transferable skills, plus, because there is an element of risk in a number of the positions involved, and because some rail industry professionals are required to work “anti-social hours” – for example, early in the morning or late at night – employment in this field can be very lucrative.
There are many possible roles in the world of railways, from electrician positions and maintenance work on the tracks themselves to tree surgery alongside the lines. In order to be considered for employment of this kind, it’s vital that you are fully qualified first and foremost.
What Qualifications and Skills Do I Need?
You can improve your chances of being employed within the rail industry by undertaking an internship or NVQ course within this field. You are usually required to have at least three “small tool” competencies, and it’s a good idea to ensure that the tools you choose are regularly utilised as a part of the field of rail work you want to pursue.
Real Skills offers Small Plant Tools training that is specially designed for those specialising in rail work. The course will fully instruct you in the use of tools such as the impact wrench, generator & light, Cobra TT, hand trolley, rail saw/abrasive wheel, cembre rail drill and sleeper drill.
The company also provides the following general and specialised training courses:
- Industry Common Induction (also useful for those who are interested in working on construction sites and station maintenance)
- Personal Track Safety (PTS)
- DC Conductor Rails
- Track Induction
- Lookout Initial
- Lookout/Site Warden
- Points Operator
- Hand Signalman
- Access Overhead Lines Construction Sites
- Individual Working Alone
- Controller of Site Safety
You can also train for your PTS or Lookout recertification with us.
Who Can Train to Work in the Rail Industry?
Anyone over the age of 18 can train to work on railways. Before you are accepted onto one of our courses, however, you will need to pass a medical and drugs test, as this is vital for the safe running of any rail-related operation. For most courses, you’ll also need sponsorship, which means that a prospective employer will need to enter you for them. Because of this, we recommend that you make contact with rail-based companies that are currently hiring before you look into applying to any courses, as your employer will know which specialisms you’ll require for their purposes.
You may be able to achieve full government funding for your course if you are aged between 19 and 23 and are currently unemployed. See here for further details. Real Skills also provides pre-employment training opportunities for 16-19 year olds, details of which can be found here.
Real Skills specialises in the education, training and assessment of personnel to the UK railway industry. We offer NSAR, Achilles RISQ (5*), EAL (Direct Claim Status) and NVQ approved training at venues across the UK.