Apprentice Railway Engineering Design Technician

Is a career in railway engineering design right for me?

Got a keen eye for detail, an interest in railway engineering and an appetite for learning? Want a career where you’ll use a wide range of skills every day?

If that sounds like you, then a career in railway engineering could be the answer.

You’ll also find it useful to feel confident in maths, as part of the apprenticeship scheme involves working towards a qualification in engineering (e.g. a BTEC) which will include maths elements. Maths will also help you when creating CAD drawings, as measurements and scale are important to get right.

Perks and challenges of being an Apprentice Railway Engineering Design Technician


  • This is a varied role where you’ll get the opportunity to do lots of different things and learn new things every week too!
  • You’ll get a great sense of accomplishment as your designs directly help to shape the Railway. You can tell everyone “I helped design this piece of track, that bridge, that platform!”
  • Earn while you learn – being an apprentice is a great way to become highly skilled and qualified whilst getting your own wages.

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Useful skills

The following skills are very useful:

  • Problem solving skills – you’ll need to be able to identify any problems with the technical drawings you are given or create before sending them off to a more senior engineer. You’ll also need to be able to spot any mechanical and engineering errors. -Communication skills – you’ll need to communicate with your team, sharing information and letting them know what changes you’ve made to designs. You’ll need to be able to pick up on engineering terminology and be able to write technical reports too. -Knowledge of the railway and engineering – you can really wow employers during your interview by reading up on the company and what’s involved in the role you’re applying for.

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What qualifications do you need to be an Apprentice Railway Engineering Design Technician?

In order to become an apprentice railway engineering technician you’ll need five GCSEs (or their equivalent). You’ll also need good passing grades in maths, English and science.

Studying subjects related to engineering and design at school will prove to employers that you have an interest in engineering and working in the rail industry.

Once you’ve been accepted onto an apprenticeship, you’ll gain industry-recognised qualifications like:

  • BTEC level 3 in civil engineering
  • BTEC level 3 in electrical and mechanical engineering -Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) Level 2

What is the workplace of an Apprentice Railway Engineering Design Technician like?

You’ll mainly be office-based. However, sometimes you may be required to go on site to carry out site surveys and to check the progress of construction. You will also attend college to gain industry-recognised qualifications and specified engineering knowledge throughout your apprenticeship.

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