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Engineering Apprentice Lidi Correia Da Silva discusses her journey from working as a cleaner at a depot, to becoming an award-winning member of our maintenance team...

My journey working for Hitachi Rail may have started a little differently than most of my colleagues in the maintenance team. My very first experience of working in rail came after I joined the team of cleaners at the Stoke Gifford depot.

Over time, I became a supervisor of the cleaning crew. While working at the depot, I appreciated that the staff at Stoke Gifford were so friendly and welcoming to me. Besides making friends at the depot, my role also allowed me to see some of the incredible work that they were doing, I developed an interest in engineering while watching the maintenance teams as they worked on the trains.

This interest eventually led me to apply for a Hitachi Rail engineering apprenticeship at Bath College, and despite being turned down after my first application, I was determined to try again and was successful on my second attempt.

Engineering Apprenticeship

At the start of my apprenticeship I wasn’t sure I’d be able to succeed, because engineering was so different from my prior experience in social work and I was studying in my second language. However, I was determined not to let my struggles affect my self-confidence, so I redoubled my efforts and soon began to see a future for myself as an engineer.

That transition has been helped by the variety of projects that I’ve worked on during my apprenticeship with Hitachi Rail. Developing new skills while working on fun tasks has made my progression enjoyable - sometimes I forget that that I’m training for a career!

I’m also fortunate to have had the support of my teachers and depot colleagues over the last two years. Their investment in my career helped me win the Engineering Apprentice of the Year award at the Bath College Celebrating Success Awards. I’m proud that my hard work has been recognised, but also very grateful to those who have helped me reach this point.


While I’ve enjoyed my apprenticeship immensely, I do have to work hard every day in order to succeed.

Being an engineering apprentice requires hard work, attention to detail and a willingness to learn from your mistakes - which are skills I’ve had to develop as I study. The patience needed to develop these skills doesn’t always come naturally to me, but I’ve learned to relish my struggles as it gives me great satisfaction to overcome whatever challenges I come up against.

One challenge is that rail can often be a male-dominated environment. It’s an industry-wide issue that Hitachi are continuously working on improving, and I’m proud to be part of the fantastic group of women who work within this business that are helping pave the way for the future. My team in particular have always made an effort to create a friendly and supportive atmosphere, which I have found is a real focus across the Hitachi Rail depots.

Next Steps

I’m currently in the second year of my three-year apprenticeship. I’m so proud of my development and very excited to start my career, as my experience working at the depot has given me a passion for rail engineering.

My journey serves as an example of the importance Hitachi Rail places on upskilling employees.

Without the opportunity presented by the apprenticeship, I would not have been able to realise my passion for engineering, and I hope my story can convince others, particularly other women, that although engineering may seem a long way from what they’re doing now – it could be the right career for them.

Click here to find out about our Graduate and Apprenticeship programmes.


Lidielen Correia Da Silva

Apprentice Technician