Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne has urged greater backing of apprenticeships after research showed the career benefits to young people of vocational entry routes.
Seven in 10 people on the rail infrastructure operator’s advanced apprenticeship scheme said they were first among their friends to be promoted.
Four in 10 felt they were on track to become senior managers within five years.
Network Rail is seeking 150 new apprentices this year as it ploughs on with its mammoth – and troubled – control period 5 programme.
Ahead of National Apprenticeship Week, which begins on Monday, Carne said: “Our apprenticeship scheme has been running for 10 years and we are incredibly proud of what our graduates have gone on to achieve. Many tell us that our scheme has fast-tracked them towards achieving personal and professional goals ahead of their friends, such as managing a team and buying a house.
“Our graduated apprentices are living proof that there should be no stigma associated with apprenticeships, and that with the right attitude and work ethic, you can reap the rewards alongside those who have chosen a university route.
“I would urge employers, teachers and parents to join forces to educate young people about the fantastic benefits that an apprenticeship can offer, both in a personal and professional capacity.”
New Civil Engineer reported last month that apprenticeship targets were to be written into major civils contracts.