Ways into rail

This section contains details of how you can get into the rail industry.

Note: RDG is not responsible for the content or appearance of any linked site and cannot be held liable for information posted onto any other site.

Vacancies in the rail industry

Check out our careers section for more about working for RDG and how to apply for our vacancies.

Train companies and freight operators have their own careers pages. For a round-up of vacancies and links to each operator, please check out our Train company careers page.

The National Skills Academy for Rail has also developed NSAR-CONNECT, a rail placement service for candidates and potential employers.

Getting into rail

Routes into Rail outlines the varied career opportunities that are available for school-leavers and graduates.

The Prince's Trust runs short vocational 'Get into' courses for 16 to 25-year-olds, to develop young people's skills in different sectors - one of which is 'Get into Railways'.

Apprenticeships

Our members in the rail industry include train operating companies, freight operating companies and Network Rail, and all offer a variety of apprenticeship opportunities across different parts of their business. They are keen for new people from all backgrounds to join them.

Driver training

Currently, you need to enquire at each train company to find out what opportunities there are for trainee drivers. We are now working together to develop an online Train Drivers Academy that will standardise the advertising of vacancies and the training of drivers across the industry.

Graduate schemes

If you are at university, you may be interested in our Railway Engineering Graduate Scheme.

Network Rail and many train companies also provide a graduate scheme. You can find links on our Train company careers page

Networking and support

Women in Rail supports women working in the industry. You may also be interested in Women in Transport, which includes a rail branch.

Young Rail Professionals brings together young people from across the UK railway industry, providing a range of networking and professional development opportunities.

Archway is a Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) employee network, based at Network Rail, but encompasses the whole rail industry.

The Railway Benefit Fund and Railway Children are charities that support railway people and their families during times of illness, injury, bereavement, or adversity.

Developing skills for the industry

The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) was established with wide railway industry support to help tackle current and future skills needs within the railway engineering industry. Whilst it doesn’t deliver training, it works with employers to understand their skills needs, with training providers to ensure they are delivering what the industry needs and with other stakeholders, such as sector skills bodies and Government, to make sure that the industry has the right qualifications to support its vision.

The Train Drivers Academy developed from one of the industry strategic plans being led by RDG. It started in 2017, aiming to improve the recruitment, training and the management of train drivers, with a virtual academy and a network of training providers.

RDG also hosts the Rail HR Directors Group. This group is looking at where the industry needs to be in 10 years in relation to key grade groups and key skills, as well as promoting the success, relevance, attractiveness and stability of employment in rail.

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