PlanBEE Rail Apprenticeship Programme

A pioneering apprenticeship has been launched to address skills shortages and give people the chance to launch their careers in the rail industry.

Network Rail and their supply chain partners have joined forces with Gateshead College to launch PlanBEE Rail, a bespoke apprenticeship programme which aims to develop a new generation of multidisciplinary project managers, specifically trained to meet the changing needs of the rail sector.

Apprentices will complete a Level 4 higher apprenticeship in associate project management, gaining hands-on experience on some of the UK’s most significant infrastructure projects, including the Transpennine Route Upgrade programme, the Digital Railway programme and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Successful candidates will be based in York, Leeds, Doncaster, and Huddersfield and will be employed to learn on the job, with a starting salary of more than £22,000. During the two-year programme, they’ll undertake four six-month placements working for leading employers in the rail sector including Alstom, AmcoGiffen, Amey, Balfour Beatty, BAM, Keltbray, Morgan Sindall, Network Rail, Systra, Transpennine Express, and Volker Rail.


Tim Craddock, HR director at Network Rail Eastern Region, said: “PlanBEE Rail is a fabulous opportunity to start a dynamic career in rail – it is not just a standard apprenticeship programme; it’s a strategic initiative to bring talent into the rail industry by working collaboratively with our supply chain partners.

“This approach ensures that our apprentices will not only gain a valuable qualification but will get the opportunity to work with a range of employers across the sector. In doing so, they will be able to develop the skills and understanding, necessary to become fully qualified project management professionals, with all the potential and opportunity that brings for the future. I am proud and excited to be part of such a fantastic programme.”

The programme offers a viable alternative to traditional university routes with tuition fees covered. Apprentices will spend one day a week learning and developing their industry knowledge with Gateshead College.

Neil Holm, managing director of the Transpennine Route Upgrade, said: “PlanBEE Rail is a fantastic opportunity to develop a really rewarding career while supporting the rail industry, which offers an array of roles to work in. All of us at TRU fully support the initiative which reflects our commitment to nurturing a skilled workforce that can meet the evolving challenges of the sector.”

The apprenticeship is based on a similar, highly successful apprenticeship in the built environment sector – PlanBEE – which was developed by Gateshead College in partnership with architecture and design company Ryder. Launched in 2016, the award-winning PlanBEE has been highly successful in developing talent in the built environment industry with 98% of PlanBEE graduates progressing to permanent jobs within the sector.

The programme has been rolled out nationally across the UK, in the North East, Manchester and London. It’s also been implemented internationally in Canada through a partnership with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Vancouver.

Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said: “We are very proud to be launching PlanBEE Rail which will offer the same life-changing, career opportunities for those looking to pursue a career in project management within the rail sector. The PlanBEE programme has been a massive success story in the North East with 98% of our graduates securing roles in the built environment sector.”

“PlanBEE is a truly innovative programme which has the flexibility to be adapted to different markets and geographical areas. It brings together businesses to provide each apprentice with a flexible range of skills to meet the needs of a sector. The kind of opportunities PlanBEE offers can’t be found on any other apprenticeship anywhere else in the country.”

For more information about PlanBEE Rail or to enquire, visit the Gateshead College website.