Level 3 Diploma in Engineering & Technology

The railway network has over 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges and tunnels, and almost 6,000 level crossings.  Working in all weathers, you’ll play a highly practical role in keeping Britain moving. Across a wide range of manual maintenance tasks, the efficiency and safety of the railway is in your hands. 

The Rail Sector in Numbers

  • £47.9 billion will be spent by Network Rail on the railways between 2019 and 2024 in England and WalesGreat Britain has almost 16,000kmof routeand serves over 2,500 individual stations – an increase of 74% since privatisation
  • 36%of route kilometres are electrified (2016/17)
  • Over 13,500 carriages have been ordered since 1996. Over 7,800 carriages have been ordered since 2010 with over 4,500 to be delivered between now and the end of 2022
  • There were 13,900 safety incidents on the railway in 2017/18
  • The rail industry employs around 240,000 people (86.6% Male, 13.4% Female)
  • A majority of the workforce is aged between 31 and 50
  • The GB railway industry is a blend of both private and public sectors

Careers in the Rail Industry

Following a D&A and Medical Assessment, you will undertake your Personal Track Safety training programme, you will wear a blue hard hat to show you are inexperienced. This which will show up when your Sentinel card is scanned. When you are judged to have enough experience, usually by your supervisor, you will be allowed to wear a white hard hat.Starting out on the frontline, working shifts to deliver a variety of manual maintenance tasks.As you develop, focusing on track, signalling or electrification, you’ll keep Network Rail assets in perfect working order.Which means you’ll pay a key role in keeping commuters and freight safe, and making journeys smooth.

Entry Route into the Rail industry

Rail Track Maintenance Worker

Rail track maintenance workers inspect and repair railway tracks, bridges, tunnels and viaducts.

  • A hands-on role, working outdoors in all weathers. Carrying out general maintenance, your range of duties will include everything from shovelling ballast to carrying out lookout duties for your team.
  • You’ll check all kinds of things, to ensure they are in great working order – from vehicles and plant to equipment, tools and materials
  • In everything you do, you’ll work safely and efficiently.

Rail Engineering & Technology Programme

The Rail Engineering and Technology Programme is designed to provide you with the essential skills and knowledge to become a Rail Track Maintenance engineer.

  • The programme runs for 20 weeks, with one session per week, delivered with combined knowledge and competence.

  • Learners should have a good standard of literacy and numeracy to comply with the health and safety aspects of the scheme, the completion of the learning outcomes, and the assessments

  • After successfully completing the Level 3 Diploma in Engineering and Technology, learners will be invited to a medical for drug and alcohol testing.

  • Only those who pass will then need to attend a further 2-week course across, to complete their Personal Track Safety (PTS) and other competencies training, including examinations and assessments.

If you’ve got what it takes, we’ll provide all the training, protective clothing and support you need to succeed.

Level 3 Diploma in Engineering and Technology

The Level 3 Diploma in Engineering and Technology is a vocational qualification. Comprising of a learning related to rail engineering and is suitable for those individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in the Rail Engineering sector. You do not have to be currently in the industry.

You will complete 2 x mandatory units, comprising:

  • Engineering and Environmental Health and Safety
  • Engineering Organisational Efficiency and Improvement

You will then complete 6 x optional units, related to the rail industry, covering:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Track Engineering
  • Track Construction
  • Track Maintenance
  • Overhead Line Equipment Construction
  • Function and Characteristics of Signalling Systems

After successfully completing the Level 3 Diploma in Engineering and Technology, learners will be invited to a medical for drug and alcohol testing.

Drugs & Alcohol, Medical & Sponsorship

Any potential rail industry employee must undergo a PTS Medical and a Drug and Alcohol Test before attending a “Personal Track Safety” course.

The Medical assessment for Network Rail involves the following medical modalities and components:

  • Medical questionnaire

  • Height and Weight

  • B.M.I.

  • Blood Pressure

  • Pulse

  • Blood Glucose Level

  • General Health

  • Mobility

  • Vision testing

  • Colour Testing

  • Hearing Test

Establishing your Primary Sponsor will be your next step. As Sentinel cards are not available to the general public, you’ll need a Sponsor to acquire one for you on your behalf. A Sponsor is usually your new employer, or you can be sponsored by a rail recruitment provider. Sponsorship can only be gained by completing a formal railway medical, and providing the necessary ID. Network Rail has a zero tolerance approach to individuals attending work whilst under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Personal Track Safety

Personal Track Safety (PTS) is the qualification every worker needs before you can work on – or near – any line owned or managed by Network Rail.
It is designed to help workers to understand the systems that keep them safe.

The main risks of working on the railway are:

  • Being hit by a train, on-track plant, or a road rail vehicle
  • Electrocution fron an overhead power line or a conductor rail
  • Trips and falls.

PTS training aims to make rail workers aware of their surroundings at all times on the railway, so they stay safe.

Personal Track Safety training usually runs over 10 full days, where you will complete the following competencies:

  •  Personal Track Safety (PTS)

  • Track Induction Course (TIC)

  • Direct Current Conductor Rail (DCCR)

  • Access Overhead Lines Construction Sites (OLEC1)

  • Small Plant Tools

  • Manual Handling

  • Fire Awareness

  • Emergency First Aid

Why a Career in the Rail Industry?

To all the future rail engineers, look beyond what you can see today, and consider the opportunities that an increasingly connected environment can offer engineering and operations in the railway sector.
Railways are complex systems that have engineering running through their core, it is a new-build project such as Crossrail central or a major enhancement to an existing one such as the Thameslink programme, they require the brightest and the best brains to solve the technical and logistical challenges they offer in an efficient and cost-effective way.
For the industry to really take advantage of them we need to have people who are not afraid to push the boundaries and challenge convention. If you think that might be you then the railway industry is definitely a career worth considering.
Ben Dunlop, Atkins’ Director of Digital Railways

Learner Testimonials

I have really enjoyed the training. I have to say I've learned a lot from my tutor.
Kelly P
Engineering and Technology Learner

Cost of Training

Costing £5,421, full funding is available via an Advanced Learner Loan, meaning there is  nothing to pay back until your earnings are over the threshold amount.
To be eligible for the loan, you must be 19 or older on the first day of your course (there’s no upper age limit), be living in the UK on the first day of your course, and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years immediately before this, and you must hold a valid UK/EU passport or original birth certificate.
By utilising an AdvancedLearner Loan, you are removing any upfront costs, that may pose a barrier for some.