Apprentice Technician – Laurie Bower
3 months ago

Kick-start your career as an Apprentice Technician with West Midlands Railway

At West Midlands Railway we aim to inspire the next generation of engineers through our industry-leading and hugely successful Apprentice Technician scheme - in partnership with Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet).

Our engineering apprenticeships allow people who are new to engineering to earn as they learn, get practical based training, meet new friends and work with industry professionals.

We caught up with Engineering Apprentice and Apprentice of the Year 2022 winner, Laurie Bower, on his time as an Apprentice Technician at West Midlands Railway and how he became a member of our railway family. Here is what he had to say.

Q&A with Apprentice Technician – Laurie Bower

What was your motivation for joining West Midlands Railway as an apprentice?

At the time of my application, I wanted to change career into the maintenance engineering field and was looking at various options. I got the impression that West Midlands Railway was investing quite heavily in their apprentices and were committed to them for the long term.

In hindsight, the company offered me a suite of commitments while all they wanted from me in return is to not waste the opportunity. For someone with no qualifications or experience in the field it was a life changing opportunity.

What did the application process look like?

I found the opening for the position on the apprenticeship listings which put me in touch with Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet). BMet organised a meeting and aptitude tests then put my application through to West Midlands Railway on my behalf.

West Midlands Railway and BMet then held a recruiting day at the BMet James Watt campus where the applicants underwent team building activities and speed interviews.

I was later invited to attend a final interview at the company headquarters on Edmund Street where I was asked a series of questions - mostly relating to personal characteristics. I received an offer of employment shortly after this which I was ecstatic about!

What does your typical day in the railway look like?

Depending on the requirements and state of the fleet of trains, the daily work can vary. On some days we will have large amounts of periodical maintenance and testing to perform, which ensures the trains remain safe and reliable. This is work which is scheduled based on things such as the time passed, distances travelled and hours of active operation.

On other days we may find a fault on a train which requires more extensive investigation and repair. With three fleets of trains each built 10 years apart there is quite a lot of different tasks and systems that we must be familiar with.

How did winning Apprentice of the Year 2022 Award make you feel?

I was extremely flattered to have been nominated. The company released all the nominations anonymously and I was surprised by how many people had written such kind things about me.

Truthfully, reading the nominations from the people I work with made me happier than the award itself. I'm only as good as the people around me have facilitated and I owe them so much for the constant patience and help over the years. The credit really belongs to those who supported me through the apprenticeship.

What are your favourite parts of this role?

I quite like working with people towards a common goal, it's nice to see your cumulative effort come together when the train is sent out for service. It's also nice to see our trains rolling around the network taking people where they need to go. It's fulfilling to know our work is integral to the daily lives of a lot of people, albeit indirectly.

How can you apply to become an Apprentice Technician.

West Midlands Railway are currently recruiting four Apprentice Technicians to join their team based at Tyseley in the West Midlands.

The chosen apprentices will be responsible for help keeping the railway running - ensuring our trains are safe for passenger service. Some of these duties include repairing, overhauling, and modifying our trains, as well as undergoing safety inspections and writing reports.

It is an exciting time to join the railway industry, with a new fleet in operation and new ones on the way, you will be at the centre of the railway industry.

So, if you are inquisitive, creative and a collaborative worker, why not apply to become an Apprentice Technician? To find out more about the scheme, visit West Midlands Railway’s Apprenticeship webpage.

Related Case Studies