The Tyne and Wear Metro has underlined its commitment to training and development by taking on five new apprentices at its train fleet depot in South Gosforth in Newcastle.
Metro, which carries almost 40 million passengers a year, has recruited the apprentices from Newcastle College’s engineering department.
James McHugh, Michael Fahy, Steven Armstrong, Joseph Wallace and Robbie May joined have started work at the Metro depot after completing two year courses in rail engineering and general engineering.
Three of the five apprentices studied at the College’s Rail Academy in Gateshead. Opened in 2015, the multi-million pound academy houses all aspects of rail engineering under one roof, including safety critical, overhead lines, signalling and telecommunications and permanent way.
Nexus, the company which owns and manages Metro, already works closely with the Rail Academy for staff training. Nexus has already recruited 30 apprentices over the last three years to bring fresh faces into its ageing workforce.
With the apprentices already holding an engineering qualification it meant that the college were able to recommend individuals that had a solid understanding of engineering maintenance, ensuring that they could make an impact from day one.
The apprentices will now spend one day a week at college learning key theory and spend the remaining four days with Tyne and Wear Metro, developing skills on the job.
David Gibson, Managing Director at DB Regio Tyne and Wear, which operates Metro on behalf of Nexus, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the team of apprentices to Metro where we look forward to helping develop and shape their future careers.
“Apprenticeships provide the perfect opportunity for young people to learn new skills to give them a valuable head start to their working lives.
“Metro has supported apprenticeships for many years and we have seen many previous apprentices go on to forge lengthy careers within the firm. They are valuable not only to young people themselves but also to the businesses they train within.
“We have been impressed with the high standard of our latest group of apprentices from Newcastle College, who have joined us with a good knowledge of railways and safety critical work regulations, including railway rules and procedures and railway and engineering terminology.”
Director of Rail and Infrastructure at Nexus, Raymond Johnstone, said: “It is vital that we invest in training so that have the right skills in place to secure Metro’s ling term future. It gives the apprentices a chance to start an exciting career in the railway industry as engineers.
“These apprentices are the Metro managers and supervisors of the future. This is just the start of a great journey for them.”
Paul Johnson, Head of Engineering at Newcastle College said: “We have an excellent relationship with Nexus through our Rail Academy and we were delighted when offered the opportunity to help recruit young engineers for Tyne and Wear Metro.
“The apprentices really impressed us with their attitude and application when they studied at the college and now they’ll continue their development in an exciting time of growth for the company.
“We understand the need to be flexible when meeting the training requirements of employers and worked closely with Tyne and Wear Metro to tailor a programme exactly to their needs.”
James McHugh, one of the new apprentices believes that the training he received at the Rail Academy has set him up for an exciting and prosperous career. James said: “From day one we were learning practical skills and working on real tracks that gave us a good idea of what it would be like to work in the industry.
“The college let us know about the opportunities available at Tyne and Wear Metro and I jumped at the chance to apply. Going into work was daunting but I realised once I started that I already had a solid understanding of the skills required in the industry, I can’t wait to continue my training with the company.”