West Midlands Trains becomes first UK train operator to gain prestigious engineering apprenticeship Kitemark

by | May 28, 2024 | Good news | 0 comments

Train operating company West Midlands Trains has become the first train operator in the UK to gain the prestigious Engineering Apprenticeships: Employer Kitemark accreditation.

Engineering apprentices at West Midlands Trains learn as they earn while working on and maintaining a fleet of nearly 400 strong fleet of trains. West Midlands Trains operates passenger trains on the West Midlands franchise between London and the English Midlands under two trading names: within the West Midlands region as West Midlands Railway (WMR) and outside the region as London Northwestern Railway (LNR).

The Kitemark recognises West Midlands Trains as a best-in-class employer for engineering apprenticeships.

80% of the annual Kitemark accreditation process is based on experiential feedback from existing Engineering Apprentices at these companies. The other 20% is split between benchmarking analysis/ evidence of continuous improvement to the apprenticeship scheme and training provider feedback.

The Kitemark is backed by national manufacturing organisation Make UK and is achieved via the Engineering Apprenticeships: Best Practice Programme, a community benchmarking and best practice sharing initiative ran by Next Gen Makers.

Lee Cattermole, Fleet Development and Training Manager at West Midlands Trains, comments: “We are delighted to have our apprenticeship scheme recognised by this prestigious Kitemark accreditation.

“Our apprenticeships, like others in the rail sector, represent exciting opportunities for candidates that are great at problem solving, have a questioning mind and enjoy working in supportive team environments. Modern trains are full of advanced technology, offering a rewarding opportunity in a variety of roles for keen and talented individuals.

“West Midlands Trains rail engineering apprentices are extensively trained to maintain our fleet rolling stock and undertake a 4-year training programme that includes a Level 3 qualification, in Rail Engineering Technician on Traction and Rolling Stock, supported by BMet College.

“The Kitemark is heavily weighted towards the feedback of our existing engineering apprentices – because who better to validate an employer for these apprenticeships, than the people who are living them right now. These are the stakeholders that matter most and quite rightly, based on their feedback, we are validated as a great place for other young people to start their engineering careers”.

As part of the Kitemark accreditation process and their ongoing involvement with Next Gen Makers’ Engineering Apprenticeships: Best Practice Programme, West Midlands Trains will now be re-accredited annually whilst also committing to the benchmarking and continuous improvement of their apprenticeship scheme via peer-to-peer best practice sharing.

Mike Townsend, Business Development Manager for apprenticeships at BMet comments: “We know from our own research with employers, both large and small, that being able to knowledge share to develop best practice in terms of apprenticeship recruitment, experience and retention is a key priority for them, and we are proactively supporting our employers such as West Midlands Trains through our partnership with Next Gen Makers and their Best Practice Programme & Kitemark accreditation”.