Metro apprentices put their skills to the test

Metro apprentices at the Rail Academy with the Metrocar pantograph
13 November 2019

Apprentices at the Tyne and Wear Metro have chalked up fresh success in a complex engineering challenge.

Second year apprentices have refurbished a disused electrical component from a Metro train, ensuring that it can be re-used to support other trainees at the Newcastle College Rail Academy.

The Metro team - Scott Burgess, Sam Lavery, James Shaw and Kieron Daley – stripped down and rebuilt a pantograph from the top of a Metro carriage, a part which is used to collect power from the overhead lines in order to run the Metro trains.

The damaged pantograph, which had been earmarked for scrappage, was stripped down and rebuilt by the trainee engineers. It is now at the Rail Academy in Gateshead, where it will be used as a teaching aid for other students.

Learning and Development Specialist at Nexus, John McVey, said: “The trainees have done a really good job on this project. They will have learnt a great deal and this will benefit the development of their skills.

“They have saved what was a disused item of train equipment that had been damaged beyond repair.

“It was a task that involved the careful replacement of all the damaged components on the pantograph. This has allowed us donate this item to the Rail Academy so that other apprentices can benefit from it.”

Steven Shiel, Head of Rail and Civil Engineering at Newcastle College said: “This project has been hugely successful for our apprentices and is just the first part of a collaborative project with Nexus which will help our apprentices develop the key skills, knowledge and behaviours needed in the rail industry.

“We enjoy a fantastic relationship with Nexus and they’ve been generous enough to donate the restored pantograph to us. It means our full cohort of learners and apprentices can use it to develop vital skills which will help them in their future careers.”

Nexus has had a partnership with the Rail and Civil Engineering Academy since 2016. The Rail and Civil Engineering Academy was established in 2014 and forms part of Newcastle College’s Transport Academy, which was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for vocational education in 2018.

The £5m facility, the first of its kind in North East England, offers a unique training environment to help the railway industry meet its skill shortages by providing a range of specialist training dedicated to rail infrastructure.

The purpose-built facility contains a real working environment with industry standard equipment and resources to train technicians and engineers for signalling, telecommunications, electrification and plant, track, and safety critical operations, all under one roof.

The site boasts six teaching rooms, a mechanical workshop, an electronics hive and a signalling and telecommunications workshop.

© 2019 Nexus Tyne and Wear - Public Transport and Local Information.