Network Rail has announced plans to recruit 12 new apprentices in the North East as part of an award-winning scheme.
The three-year Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme programme is offering 300 young people around the country the chance to “earn while they learn”.
Apprentices will be recruited in two intakes, in March and September, and will gain valuable work experience, transferable skills and recognised qualifications.
They will spend their first five months at Network Rail’s modern training facility near Coventry, specialising in one of five areas: electrification and plant, overhead lines, signalling, telecoms or track.
They will then return to the region and work at local depots in Birtley, Darlington, Middlesbrough, Morpeth and Newcastle, where they will help deliver Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.
Group HR director Ian Iceton said: “Network Rail has been committed to providing opportunities for young people to develop and progress into a rewarding career for more than 10 years.
"Apprentices are a vital part of our 36,000-strong team working to deliver our Railway Upgrade Plan to make our railway better and bigger.
“I urge anyone that has the determination, talent and enthusiasm to work in a role where you not only make a difference every single day, but also contribute to building the railway for the future, to join us by applying today.”
Last year, Network Rail received more than 4,000 applications for the Advanced Apprenticeship scheme.
Apprentices join the 20,000-strong team of front line engineers and technicians who fix and maintain the rail infrastructure, enabling 1.6 billion rail journeys to be made every year.
Most of those who come through the Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme stay with Network Rail: 85% of those who started on it in 2005, when it was first launched, still working for the organisation.
The scheme is open to anyone who is 18 by 1 March 2017 and the closing date for applications for the March intake of apprentices is Monday, 31 October.