Explore Rail Transport Careers: Department for Transport

We plan and invest in transport infrastructure to keep the UK on the move

Description of organisation: Transport matters. It doesn’t just help people get around, it helps them get on. That’s what we believe here at the Department for Transport. Transport is fundamental to all of us. Every person in our country relies on transport. Without it we can’t get to our places of work, visit our friends and families, or put food on our table. Everyone needs a transport system that works, so we are:

Making journeys better: simpler, faster, and more reliable.

Ensuring that every part of Britain benefits from a growing economy and that everyone who works hard gets the opportunities they need to succeed; supporting jobs, skills and apprenticeships for people in every part of the UK.

Investing to bring our country together, including by building a Northern Powerhouse

Making transport safer and more sustainable

The investment we are making today will help prepare our country for tomorrow.

We will leave a lasting legacy for future generations. And we welcome you to join us.

Graduate vacancies: commercial; project management; policy; planning; economists; statisticians; communications; HR; corporate finance; digital; finance; internal audit; property

Graduate Profile

Emily Rainbow

Started September 2018 – Profession: Project Delivery

My name is Emily Rainbow and I am first year Civil Service Fast Streamer on placement in the Department for Transport. Prior to joining the Civil Service in 2018, I completed an Undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism at University College London.

My current role is in the Rail Portfolio Office where I work on integrating and managing the whole rail portfolio (worth over £50bn) to help improve delivery of our projects.  Despite this being core to my work, I am fortunate to work in an environment which allows me to work on numerous other projects too, adding a huge amount of variety to my days; from helping plan the 100 years of DfT celebrations, working to improve capital project delivery with Network Rail and graduate recruitment.

The key thing to understand about a career in the Department for Transport, or indeed the wider Civil Service, is that there are so many opportunities to expand your horizons and gain new experiences. Whatever your job role might be, there is always room to get involved in areas of work that interest you and develop your skills. This emphasis on development, coupled with the challenge of working in Government and the responsibility that brings, makes work as a Civil Servant a completely unique experience. It cannot be underestimated how rewarding it is to go into work each day knowing that you are working to positively impact people’s everyday lives.

I can honestly say that working for the Department for Transport has been the best welcome to the Civil Service, both because of the huge amount of support I have received and the opportunities to develop it has given me. I will be very sad to leave at the end of my placement.

Explore Rail Transport Careers: Network Rail

Company Profile

We have £47bn earmarked to invest in landmark projects and initiatives between 2019 and 2024 as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. We’re hoping you’ll choose to join us and help turn our plans into reality; to create a world-class railway and really make a difference to rail travel in Britain.

We’re already making history through some of the largest engineering projects in Europe: Elizabeth Line (previously known as Crossrail), Birmingham New Street Station, London Bridge, HS2 and Thameslink. Our award-winning architectural developments are helping to regenerate towns, cities and businesses, whilst new train lines are connecting communities.

We’ll support you with extensive training and development, the opportunity to gain professional qualifications and expert guidance to help you reach your full potential in a rapidly growing industry. You’ll have access to state-of-the-art training and development facilities and be rewarded with a range of generous bonus and pension schemes to help you plan for the future. So whether your specialism is in operations, management, engineering, property or finance, choose Network Rail and play your part in the transformation of Britain’s railway.

Graduate Profile

Inge-Sarah Andersen

Job title: Graduate Electrical Engineer

I applied for the Network Rail Engineering Graduate Programme in the Autumn of 2016, and was offered a position after completing several assessments including a situational judgement test, psychometric test and an assessment centre. I chose Network Rail above other employers as I have a keen interest in control systems, which I knew could be applied to Network Rail programs such as ‘Digital Railway’ and ‘Intelligent Infrastructure’; I also felt that the graduate scheme offered many enticing benefits such as a generous leave package and season ticket discount.

As the scheme is split into four 6-month placements with scope to work in a variety of disciplines and on a wide selection of projects, there is no typical day for me. Recently, I have spent 6-months working in the maintenance department honing both my technical and managerial skills, while presently I am based in an asset management team which is affording me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of Signalling (my railway discipline) and the processes behind running an effective rail network. In addition to this, I have been involved in many extra-curricular projects such as: acting as project manager on a £250K programme to encourage young people from underrepresented geographical areas into engineering and higher education (HE); acting as a mentor for both the Social Mobility Foundation and the National College of High Speed Rail; organising a conference for the entire NR engineering graduate cohort; and working as a STEM ambassador among other things.

Through working for Network Rail, I have also been able to attend several interesting training courses including managerial courses on leadership skills and ‘lean’ methods of working, as well as industry recognised technical courses on Signalling design. This has been beneficial as the courses I have attended will contribute to my future chartership application, of which the company is very supportive. As the graduate scheme is accredited by several Engineering Council institutions, all graduates receive an abundance of support towards professional recognition in the form of mentors and training.

The highlight of the graduate scheme so far is the company culture – opportunities for both personal and professional improvement are present and we are encouraged to seize them! A good personal example is my appointment as a project manager on the ‘Fast Trackers’ scheme, which saw me oversee a programme of events encouraging underrepresented young people into HE and liaising with high profile industry contacts such as Clair Mowbray (CEO, National College of High Speed Rail), Roma Agrawal (The Shard, AECOM) and Jim O’Sullivan (CEO, Highways England). Within my role in the project, I was also responsible for liaising with the media and coordinating communications as well as volunteer procurement and management. The reception from the wider industry has been excellent, with receiving a personal thank you letter from Sir Peter Hendy CBE (NR Chair), seeing the project in print (Rail Staff Magazine) and being shortlisted for an award (Graduate Initiative of the Year, CN Talent Awards Nov 2018) as particular highlights within the project itself. In addition to this, I have become lifelong friends with the my project colleagues.

The most enjoyable parts of my job are the opportunities to meet new people and step out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. Although I haven’t met all 38,000 of my colleagues, all of the ones I have encountered so far are incredibly friendly and forthcoming, and I always leave a team feeling like I’ve added value.

Explore Rail Transport Careers

Key Themes – Policy, planning, technology, innovation, services, finance and bespoke engineering.

Tuesday 29th January 2019, 7.00pm to 9.00pm, The Old Kitchens Queens’ College

Free Drinks Reception

Meet a diverse range of rail transport companies from central government to international corporations and see the challenging job/internship opportunities that are available to you!

The drinks reception seeks to promote rail transport as a great place to work in an innovative, inspirational and illustrious employment sector. Rail transport encompasses not only engineering, but: operations, strategic planning, marketing and human relations, maintenance, consultancy, franchising, assets management, business management, leadership, technological innovation, bespoke solutions, IT/software and regulation. With a popular interest in rail transport, a career in the dynamic industry can be highly rewarding and enjoyable.

Come and meet various companies who are offering engaging and challenging careers to graduates. The employers offer bespoke career paths over a diverse range of skills and attributes.

The sector is keen to recruit graduates who shall form the next generation of talented innovators in a rapidly growing and dynamic sector.

Women in Rail are attending who promote diversity in rail through provide networking and support to women to position rail as an attractive career choice for young people.

Check out this video to explore rail transport careers further.

A message from a current CURC member and their experiences of an internship at Greater Anglia:

My name is William (I’m currently a second year engineer at Corpus) and I spent six weeks working at Greater Anglia over the summer vacation 2018.  Most of the time was spent at Ilford Depot in East London and it enabled me to make contacts and assess whether I would want to work further in an industry that continues to grow and develop.  There was a wide range of roles that I experienced including reliability engineering, management, stores, assets and even a day spent alongside technicians on a 317 unit! The entire process gave me an improved awareness of the intricacies of train operations and the ability to see the diversity of roles that the rail industry requires.

Profiles on the Participants

HM Department for Transport

Employer and Graduate Profile
Website for further information: transport/about/recruitment

Network Rail

Company and Graduate Profile
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High Speed Two Limited

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Office for Rail & Road

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Hitachi Europe

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Colas Rail

Company and Graduate Profile
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First Group

Company and Graduate Profile
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Arriva Group

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Deutsche Bahn (DB Cargo)

Company Profile
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No need to book for this event, yet we welcome ‘expressions of interest’ purely to gauge catering numbers. Sign up here.

About the CURC:

Founded in 1911 from the Cambridge University branch of The Railway Club, Cambridge University Railway Club (CURC) is the second oldest railway enthusiast club in the world! The CURC arranges an event in Cambridge most weeks during Full Term, most often a presentation by an invited speaker, almost always a key professional from the rail industry, on a specific subject. The club is not just train talk, but about how the railway works. We have a celebrated history of CURC alumni who now work in the railway industry, with some at quite senior levels.

Career Related Events this term:

  • LNER with MD David Horne (BR Degree Graduate): Tuesday 5thFebruary, Robinson College.
  • Network Rail with Chairman Sir Peter Hendy: Wednesday 13thFebruary, Queens’ College.
  • Arriva Cross Country with MD Andy Cooper (Cambridge Graduate): Wednesday 27thFebruary, Queens’ College.
  • Hitachi Rail Europe with Paul Cooper (Oxbridge Graduate): TBC
  • First Open Access Rail with Louise Cheeseman (BR Graduate): TBC

Email for further information.

Events Lent 2019

The term card for Lent 2019 is as follows:

  • Friday 25th January, 6pm prompt, Know-Shaw Room, Sidney Sussex College:
    Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe (All the Stations).
  • Wednesday 13th February, 6pm prompt, Queens’ College:
    Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman of Network Rail.
  • Wednesday 27th February, Queens’ College (6pm, room DD48)
    Andy Cooper, MD of Cross Country.
  • Friday 1st March, 18:00, Sidney Sussex (Knox-Shaw)
    Paul Cooper, Hitachi Rail Europe.
  • Tuesday 5th March, Gonville and Caius College, Green room; 20:30:
    David Horne, MD of LNER.
  • Wednesday 13th March, 18:00, Sidney Sussex College (Knox-Shaw room):
    Tim Mulhall, CEO of Hornby

    Here is a selection of past events and activities:
  • Speaker meetings: In the past speakers have, among others, come from Colas Rail, Network Rail, Crossrail, South Western Railway, East West Railway Company (Varsity Line plans),  High Speed Two (HS2), Direct Rail Services, Japan Railways East, GB Railfreight, Virgin Trains East Coast and Project Miller.
  • Visits: To depots, signal boxes, industrial sites and other places of railway interest. Recent visits include Cambridge Signal Box, Brush Traction and London Undersround Ruslip depot,  Plasser UK, Loram and Network Rail’s New Measurement Train.
  • Annual Dinner, including a speech from a notable figure in the railway industry or preservation. The 2017/18 Annual Dinner took place on the Great Western Railway Pullman Dining Train.
  • Termly journal Eagle, which includes news from the club and the local railway scene and offers the opportunity for members to see their articles and photos in print.

Come and try us out for free, as the CURC provides exclusive access to key railway professionals, as well as visits to key sites around the country; you might just want to become a member! Student Membership costs £10 per year or £25 for life membership. You can pay an annual membership now and upgrade to life later. If not, we charge £3 at the door for non-members, upon your third entry to a talk.

We look forward to welcoming you soon. Please follow our events here, or on Talks@Cam, or email to be signed up to our email list.