Level 5 – Rail & Rail Systems Apprenticeship

Rail & Rail Systems Engineer Apprentices learning in a hands on environment

A Level 5 – Rail & Rail Systems Apprenticeship could set you on the right tracks for the future. Check out this post to find out everything you need to start a Level 5 Rail and Rail Systems Apprenticeship now…

The ideal Rail and Rail Systems Engineer works as part of a multi-disciplinary team, but with personal responsibility and accountability for projects related to their specialist area. They can work in multiple railway worksites or in technical offices. They have a strong understanding of how the railway works as a whole and are able to assess the impact of their work and its interfaces with other teams. This includes an understanding of conventional rail or high speed rail, or both. They are responsible for the provision of rail specific technical engineering knowledge relating to a specific aspect of the railway. Specialist areas include rail specific civil engineering, rail track, rail signalling and control, rail systems & integration, rail traction and rolling stock, rail telecommunications, network and digital and rail electrical, mechanical and building services. Regardless of specific role, the Rail and Rail Systems Engineer Apprentice should ensure the railway runs smoothly on a day to day basis and to provide rail specific engineering knowledge across their own organisation to ensure this is the case. This includes supporting work relating to the integrated safe design, construction, installation, maintenance, renewal, or decommissioning of assets and equipment, to provide a safe and reliable railway.

Key Duties

  • Planning, processing, maintenance and production of railway assets and equipment.
  • Rail specific input to operational processes.
  • Taking proactive actions and decisions to avoid railway asset, equipment, process and systems failures within their area of influence.
  • Working across the Organisation to identify areas for rail system improvement.
  • Supporting or supervising individuals and teams in the delivery of Rail Engineering and Rail System tasks within their designated discipline
  • Providing and sharing specialist knowledge across the Organisation and ensuring that the impact to the railway of any changes is identified.

Core Knowledge & Skills


  • Safe and Professional working practices including rail specific legislation, regulation (e.g. Common Safety Method Risk Assessment(CSM RA)), industry procedures, safety and quality requirements, risk management and environmental impact of rail construction work and rail equipment.
  • The scientific, technical, engineering, mathematical and design principles and practices relating to their area of expertise in the context of how the railway works as an integrated, complex system, including an appreciation of all specialisms.
  • How to contribute effectively to the delivery of rail specific engineering solutions, applying project management principles, asset, risk and quality management and assurance systems, processes and techniques.
  • How strategic decisions are made including financial planning, budget control, commercial impacts, contractual obligations, supply chain management and resource constraints within a railway / regulated industry.
  • How teams work effectively; supporting individuals/teams to contribute to high performance within a safety critical sector and understanding how the specialist rail areas link together and their dependencies.
  • How to attract, recruit, develop and retain people including organisational change theory and performance management techniques within the safety critical rail sector.


  • Keep themselves and others safe by demonstrating safe working practices.
  • Apply a range of technical skill sets within their area of expertise or discipline in order to support railway research, development, design, procurement, logistics, planning, delivery, quality assurance, inspection, testing, installation, commissioning, maintenance, life cycle management, decommissioning and environmental compliance.
  • Deliver Rail & Rail Systems Engineering solutions effectively including planning, resource allocation, and management and delivery to the required specification.
  • Provide input to technical, business planning, finance and commercial meetings.
  • Use creative thinking and problem solving techniques to challenge rail and rail systems engineering assumptions, make new proposals and build on existing ideas.
  • Lead and support single discipline teams. Able to work effectively and collaboratively, individually and as part of a team.
  • Manage relationships with a range of stakeholders. Able to apply collaborative working techniques.
  • Problem solving and continuous improvement tools / techniques in a railway context.


  • Communication and influencing skills, choosing an appropriate means for the audience and the situation, checking for understanding and considering and building on ideas of others.
  • Professionalism, dependability, determination, consistency, resilience, honesty and integrity. Accepts and exercises personal responsibility within a safety critical sector.
  • A self-disciplined, self-motivated and motivational approach to work, managing time effectively to ensure levels of commitment are understood and delivered.
  • Safe working practice, without close supervision, to approved rail industry standards. Identifies and takes responsibility for own obligations for health, safety, and welfare issues.
  • Collaborative working, being aware of their actions and the impact they may have on others, maintaining effective relationships with rail colleagues, clients, suppliers and the public.
  • A focus on quality, promoting a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Continuous Professional Development; receptive to giving and receiving constructive feedback, willing to learn new skills and learn from mistakes. Identifies, undertakes and records CPD necessary to maintain and enhance competence.

Entry Requirements

Individual employers will set the selection criteria for their Apprenticeships in conjunction with their chosen provider(s). Apprentices without Level 2 English and Maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the end point assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and Maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3, and British Sign Language qualifications are an alternative to English qualifications for those whom this is their primary language.

The typical duration for the Level 5 – Rail & Rail Systems Apprenticeship is typically 24-30 months depending on the previous experience of the apprentice and access to opportunities to gain the full range of competence.

For a full overview of what this apprenticeship program could provide, check out the link below.

Level 5 Rail & Rail Systems Engineer Apprenticeship

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