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Why work in the rail sector?

The UK rail industry is a significant contributor to the overall economy, accounting for more than 225,000 jobs and generating £5.2 billion in gross value added in 2016 alone. And with ongoing commitments to further improve the state of the industry - such as the raft of proposals contained in In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity - it’s clear that the rail sector is only going to grow into the future. Private and public sector investment in rail is predicted to boost the UK economy by nearly £85bn, with more jobs created and an enhanced focus on workplace development, ensuring the rail industry remains an exciting place to work. If you’ve ever considered making the move into the rail sector, here’s why it could be the right career for you:

Work in one of the best rail networks in the world

The rail industry in the UK is constantly being developed, resulting in a network that is one of the safest and most reliable in the world. It’s a system that is used by millions of people every day, with rail passenger journeys across the nation more than doubling in the past 20 years. Despite the UK’s relatively small geographical size, nearly one-fifth of all European passenger journeys take place here, with rail passenger growth outperforming population and employment growth in recent years. The re-privatisation of the UK’s railways in the 1990s has seen the emergence of commercial operators around the nation offering an abundance of employment opportunities, not to mention the maintenance work required to upkeep the 17,732km of rail networks across the UK.

All of this adds up to a fairly mighty beast that is only predicted to get bigger, faster and more efficient. When you work in the UK rail industry, you’re part of one of the most widely-used services across the nation, and you can play a role in making it even better.

Develop your career over time

Working in the rail sector isn’t just a job – it’s a career for life. Because of the sheer size and scope of the industry, there is an abundance of opportunities available for people at every stage of their career across a variety of different organisational bodies. From the Department for Transport, independent train companies and Network Rail through to the Office of Rail Regulation, there are many large-scale organisations constantly looking for the right people to join their ranks. This not only means there are a variety of different roles available, but also a certain level of career security – the rail industry isn’t going anywhere.

The industry is a great place in which to begin your career, with apprenticeship numbers on the rise in recent years. The tail end of 2017 saw Transport Secretary Chris Grayling open a new rail academy which will train 500 apprentices over the next five years, with expected growth within the industry and the Great North Rail Project creating greater demand for apprenticeship starts. The earn-as-you-learn nature of apprenticeships and their ability to launch careers within organisations make them appealing to both young people and those looking for a career change. The sheer size and projected growth of the industry means there are significant opportunities to develop, with roles within rail engineering, planning, site management and quantity surveying all lucrative pathways for professionals to work towards.

Be at the cutting edge

The rail industry is heavily driven by innovation and technical advances, which means those who work within it have the opportunity to use state-of-the-art technology. The recently-launched UK Rail Research and Innovation Network is set to support this further, giving the industry access to purpose-built facilities and skills in areas that support R&D and innovation for rail in the UK.

The scale of rail in the UK means there are constantly large projects either in the planning stage or in production. Take the Great North Rail Project as an example – the multi-billion pound project is set to be underway until 2022, contributing to the near-27,000 new jobs created in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester predicted by the Rail Delivery Group. Add in Crossrail, which is due to be fully operational by the end of 2019, and the planned High Speed 2 project and you’ve got a significant breadth of massive projects to sink your teeth into. Find your role in rail At Anderselite, we have dedicated consultants within the rail sector who are always looking out for skilled and passionate contract, temporary and permanent candidates.

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