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To celebrate UK National Apprentice Week, we spoke with Social Value and Career Pathways Manager Pete Fletcher, who explains why we are passionate about our people continuing their learning throughout their careers and why apprenticeships can be a great way to do it...

What does an apprentice look like at Hitachi Rail?

This is always an interesting question, and the answer is very different from what you usually see on posters or as part of advertising campaigns for apprenticeship recruitment.

If you took a cross-section of our UK workforce, it would look similar to our apprentice population. Around 5% of our colleagues are progressing with an apprenticeship, either as an entry point to our organisation, or upskilling as they progress in their careers.

So, at Hitachi Rail, an apprentice looks like three things: talented, ambitious, and stands out from the crowd because of their enthusiasm and ambition!

Why is having an apprentice scheme important to Hitachi Rail?

As an employer, it is a real opportunity to develop a highly-skilled workforce that can help us continuously improve the quality of the solutions we can offer our customers.

A good workforce is a motivated one. We have found that employees who have been through our apprentice scheme see first-hand our commitment to developing their careers. In return, we are able to get a combination of a loyal, hard-working, and confident workforce.

As we move into new markets and business lines, we need a dynamic workforce that can flex to the business changes; our apprenticeships offer an additional layer of learning to support this change.

I truly believe that apprenticeships are the future of our business and make a real difference to all at Hitachi Rail.

Why is Hitachi Rail such a great place to do your apprenticeship?

We work in a dynamic environment that exposes our apprentices to many different parts of the Business. This provides an opportunity to utilise the skills learned through an apprenticeship and build on your career at Hitachi Rail.

Our apprenticeship scheme allows you to gain a professional skill set, a on the job experience and a knowledge, plus a nationally recognised qualification in your chosen discipline.

How do you think apprentices can help Hitachi Rail achieve increased diversity across the business?

We know that ensuring a diverse workforce is a challenge for the entire rail industry, not just Hitachi Rail. We continue working with organisations such as Women in Rail, Women in Construction, Muslims in Rail, and other inspiring organisations to increase the attraction of working at Hitachi Rail.

Our apprenticeships offer individuals the chance to gain knowledge, experience, and a qualification independent of their background or previous experience – which is really important to us!

What benefits do you think apprentices obtain through an apprenticeship?

For me, this is about more than just learning. It's about reflection and putting these new skills into practice. Each apprenticeship is at least 12 months, with opportunities to study from GCSE all the way to Ph.D. level.

You also gain a recognised qualification that builds on skills that can be evidenced in the workplace. By evidencing this learning, a participant has the opportunity to progress further up the career ladder.

Lastly, we also see a real boost in apprentices' confidence and self-esteem, often leading to accelerated career advancement.

Why do you think National Apprentice Week is so important?

National Apprentice Week is essential to celebrate the successes of both the apprentices who have committed to furthering their education and us as employers, to highlight the excellent work we have been doing behind the scenes to focus on development in the workplace.

I also hope this week of promotion means that more people understand that apprenticeships are about lifelong learning and an opportunity to learn throughout their entire career rather than just those that start their working life with an apprenticeship.

To keep up to date about the brilliant opportunities we have to join us at Hitachi Rail, visit our careers site.


Pete Fletcher

Social Value and Career Pathways Manager Location: UK