Railway maintenance engineering technicians (overhead line) inspect, adjust, repair and alter the overhead line equipment (OLE) to keep trains running smoothly and safely.
You could be:
- inspecting the ground and high level OLE for signs of damage or deterioration
- accessing high level OLE using gantries and road and rail vehicles
- replacing OLE components, such as insulators
- checking cable tensioning and alignment
- using specialist tools and equipment to measure, adjust, repair and modify cables and wires
- organising appropriate materials, equipment and staff to be onsite
- finding faults with OLE, such as cantilevers, and repairing them.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Apprentices’ yearly salary:
- Year 1: £8,618 plus £1,150 bonus after successfully finishing the year.
- Year 2: £12,055.
- Year 3: £14,364.
Food and accommodation are provided free during the first year.
Once qualified, you can earn a salary of between £18,000 and £22,000 a year. Experienced technicians can earn up to around £29,000 a year.
- You spend a lot of time working at height.
- You work mainly outdoors in all weathers, day and night.
- You work shifts, including evenings, nights, public holidays and weekends.
- You are sometimes on call and may have to work overtime.
- You could be working away from the depot you are based at.
- You will have to wear protective clothing such as high visibility jacket, hard hat and safety boots.
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- Network Rail has a three-year Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme which trains Maintenance Engineering Technicians in areas such as: Signalling, Off Track, Track, Electrification and Plant, Telecoms or Overhead Line.
- Entry requirements: 4 subjects at National 5 including English, Maths and a science or engineering subject.
- Applications for the 2018 intake are now closed, but you can register your interest for future apprenticeships here.
- To qualify you need to be 18 years of age or older by the time you start your training.
- If your online application is successful, you will then complete some aptitude tests followed by a telephone interview. If you pass these then you will attend the assessment centre for practical tests and an interview.
- You need a good level of physical fitness, and have to pass a medical examination, which includes sight and hearing tests.
- You will undergo regular drug and alcohol tests to make sure you are not under any influence during working hours – Network Rail have a zero tolerance policy.
Employment is with Network Rail, which is responsible for maintaining around 3,000 miles of track and related infrastructure in Scotland.
Predicted Employment in Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You need to have:
- an eye for detail to notice small defects
- good hand skills
- good written and verbal communication skills
- awareness of health and safety procedures
- an understanding of engineering principles
- a good head for heights.
You need to be able to:
- meet deadlines
- deal with emergencies quickly and calmly
- work in isolation as well as in a team
- work quickly and accurately, always to a high standard.
- Training is on the job combined with off the job training.
- All apprentice technicians must attend the Westwood training centre in the Midlands in England, for their first 21 weeks of training. Accommodation, meals, work clothing and safety equipment is provided. The remainder of training is based at a depot close to your home address.
- In year 1 you study a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Performing Engineering Operations Level 2, a BTEC National Award in Engineering and the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM) Level 2.
- In years 2 and 3 you study NVQ Level 3 in Railway Engineering and ILM Level 3 in First Line Management.
- Network Rail has a training centre in Larbert near Falkirk for training Scottish staff in new techniques and updating their existing skills.
- Once you have qualified, you may be able to do further study and gain more advanced qualifications in engineering.
- Network Rail offer a range of programmes at all levels from NVQ to postgraduate.
- With these advanced qualifications, you may be able to register as an Engineering Technician (EngTech) or as a professional engineer (IEng or CEng).
Whatever your specialism, there are opportunities to move on within the organisation and become a team leader. With further experience, you could work on larger projects as a project engineer or manager.
- Overhead line equipment maintenance is an expanding area.
- The Engineering Council sets and maintains the standards of the engineering profession in the UK.
- The Tomorrow’s Engineers website has more information on careers in engineering.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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