Northern has appointed 16 new engineering apprentices, who will support the team tasked with maintaining, repairing, modifying and servicing its fleet of 345 trains.
The apprentices will be based at five ‘TrainCare Centres’ across the North of England – Heaton in Newcastle, Botanic Gardens in Hull, Neville Hill in Leeds, Newton Heath in Manchester and Allerton in Liverpool.
Two members of the cohort, Elizbeth Fielding (from Blackburn in Lancashire) and Megan Van Bergen (from Mossley Hill in Merseyside), previously worked as cleaners in the train operator’s train presentation team.
Jack Commandeur, engineering director at Northern, said: “A regular in-take of apprentices is important to help nurture the next generation of railway engineers and engineering leaders.
“In these roles, the apprentices can develop their skills and experience in an environment that speaks to their passion for science and technology.
“In Elizabeth and Megan’s case, it’s particularly nice to see young people choosing to stay and develop their career here at Northern and I would encourage anyone that has not previously considered a career in rail to give it a go.”
In 2022, Northern was officially recognised by Ofsted as a ‘Main Provider’ of apprenticeships, a status that enables it to offer its industry-leading training services to other train operators and rail industry organisations.
More than 450 people are part of the rail operator’s apprenticeship programme and are employed in a variety of roles across the business.
In August, Northern gave a first glimpse of how its new, multi-million-pound train simulators could look once installed at its training academies in Leeds and Manchester. Engineering apprentices will be among those making use of the new simulators once they are up and running in 2025.
Earlier this year (in June), the engineering team also walked away with a top gong at the Railway Innovation Awards for its work to develop a fleet of ‘Intelligent Trains’ – a project designed to make journeys by rail safer and more efficient.
Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.