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Level: 3

Location: The RoundHouse

Years: 3

Interview: Y

Course Summary

This apprenticeship is designed as a three-year programme to equip you with a complex blend of skills, knowledge and occupational behaviours across electrical, mechanical and rail-specific disciplines such as traction and rolling stock, track, electrification and signalling.

The apprenticeship is delivered in a collaboration between Derby College and the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) in Northampton.

Typically, the duration of this apprenticeship is 36 – 48 months. This may be reduced for a candidate with previous relevant experience or for someone already part-qualified through the Rail Engineering Technician Apprenticeship.

You will study:

  • Foundation Competence - 12-18 month duration
  • Level 3 academic subjects - 18–48 month duration (technical subjects are taught at Derby College and the rail specific subjects are taught at NTAR)
  • Level 3 competence qualification (workplace)

Entry requirements

Individual employers will set the selection criteria for their apprenticeships. In order to optimise their success, candidates should typically have four GCSEs at grade C or the equivalent, including Mathematics, English (at grade 4 or above) and a Science.

Employers who recruit candidates without English or Maths at grade 4 or above must ensure that the candidate achieves this standard prior to the completion of the apprenticeship.

Course Content

You will study the following units:

  • Complying with Statutory Regulations and Organisational Safety Requirements
  • Working Efficiently and Effectively in an Engineering Environment
  • Using and Communicating Technical Information
  • Conducting Business Improvement Activities
  • Producing Components using Hand Fitting Techniques
  • Maintaining Mechanical Devices and Equipment
  • Maintaining Electrical Equipment/Systems
  • Wiring and Testing Electrical Equipment and Circuits
  • General Turning, Milling and Welding Applications
  • Producing Engineering Project Plans

Taught at Derby College:

  • Working Safely in Rail Engineering
  • Mathematics for Engineering Technicians
  • Engineering Solutions and Innovation within the Rail Industry
  • Electrical and Electronic Principles
  • Mechanical Principles
  • Engineering Design
  • Electronic Measurement and Testing
  • Engineering Drawing for Technicians
  • Engineering Materials
  • Other subjects which are required by the employer

Taught at NTAR (depending on the pathway):

  • Rail Vehicle Traction Systems, Suspension, Wheelsets and Brakes (Traction and Rolling Stock)
  • Passenger Comfort, Safety and Security (Traction and Rolling Stock)
  • Railway Infrastructure, Construction and Maintenance (Track)
  • Rail Technologies (Track)
  • Features and Applications of Electrical Machines (Electrification)
  • Rail Electrification Technologies (Electrification)
  • Overhead Line Technologies – Construction (Overhead Line Equipment)
  • Overhead Line Technologies – Maintenance (Overhead Line Equipment)
  • Functions and Characteristics of Railway Signalling Systems (Signalling)
  • Signalling Technologies (Signalling)
  • Telecommunications Systems (Telecoms)
  • Telecommunications Principles (Telecoms)

How will I be assessed?

Your academic study will be graded at Pass, Merit or Distinction.

Are there any additional costs or specialist equipment required?

What can I do after this course?

Completion of this apprenticeship standard will be recognised by the relevant professional institutions as the evidence required for Engineering Technical registration (EngTech) through a professional review.

For those deemed capable and ready, further career development and progression opportunities could be considered, such as the Level 4 Rail Technician Apprenticeship or higher levels of education and training.


This course is run at the Roundhouse Campus

About the Roundhouse »

Rosie Dales

Rosie Dales

Welding student Rosie forges ahead in fabrications

Student welder Rosie Dales is forging ahead in the male-dominated world of fabrication thanks to Derby College. Rosie, 24, is set to take a Level 3 NVQ in Fabrication and Welding. She is also adding skills to a previous Level 2 qualification which she did not gain through an earlier provider. Rosie, who was born deaf and is a skilled lipreader, uses a hearing aid to boost what sound she can hear. She praised the teaching focus of her Derby College tutor and said her fellow students were "deaf aware", which was helpful. After working unpaid for two weeks, Rosie landed an apprenticeship with her grandfather's firm, Dales Fabrications, in Ilkeston. She found that she loved the work and the company is now funding her college training.

Rosie said: "I'm really enjoying the college work. The tutor is focussed on the students and I'm making good progress.

"I think it's going well. I'm taking small steps at a time. After I qualify I might go on to a higher qualification and see where that takes me. We'll see."


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