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Apprentice Jamie Gaines

Apprentices start at Hitachi Rail’s new Doncaster depot

Hitachi’s new apprentice and graduate programmes will see the company double their number of trainees to over 100 across the UK.

Doncaster will receive four apprentices every year, with the first intake starting this week. The new recruits will attend the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) as well as Doncaster College as they start to study for their Level 3 in Railway Engineering.

150 young people applied for this year’s four apprentice positions, with many who were unsuccessful asked to re-apply for next year’s intake.  Doncaster received the highest amount of applications in the country for Hitachi’s apprentice programme.

Hitachi is on track to create 250 new jobs in Doncaster to maintain pioneering intercity trains.

Trainees to work on pioneering new trains

The 100 trainees to work on Hitachi’s new trains include both apprentices and graduate engineers.

Hitachi has begun to recruit 46 new apprentices over the next two years to work at their manufacturing and maintenance sites.  

The new national apprenticeship programme follows the success of Hitachi’s 54 train manufacturing apprentices currently at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. Additional apprentices at the manufacturing facility in the North East will join a 1000 strong workforce building intercity and commuter trains.

Apprentices will also be employed at train maintenance depots across the UK, including Doncaster.

Hitachi has recently invested over £80m in building a new depot at Doncaster to maintain trains for the East Coast main line and Transpennine route. Apprentices will learn how to inspect and ready trains for passenger service using the latest industry technology.

The level 3 apprenticeships will last up to three years and be administrated by the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR).  Hitachi’s apprenticeship programme is part of a new qualification standard developed by the “Trailblazer group”, where companies are allowed to set the skills and training, as well as the assessment criteria of the qualification.  

A new intake of 10 graduates will also join Hitachi Rail’s trainee programme. Graduate engineers will rotate around sites in the UK, including Doncaster. They will work with colleagues in Japan on train designs as well as bringing engineering expertise to depots.

Building a new generation of rail workers

The trainee programmes are part of Hitachi’s wider plans to create a new generation of rail workers. Hitachi aims to have at least 5% of its workforce in an entry level training scheme, such as an apprenticeship or graduate programme.

The company has already co-founded a new university technical college in the North East, UTC South Durham, which opened last year. Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe site, based in the same business park as the college, works closely with the students on engineering projects.

Hitachi Rail in the UK will soon employ over 2,000 people across 15 locations. To ensure the delivery of current and future rail projects, Hitachi is building a long-term workforce with a rich array of engineering and manufacturing skills.

Geoff Elliot, General Manager for East Coast maintenance said, said:
“We are building on Doncaster’s rich heritage in rail by creating new long-term jobs to work on pioneering new trains.

“It is vital that we have a new generation of rail workers to move the industry forward. Hitachi are maintaining trains at Doncaster for next 27 ½ years so we need to keep inspiring young people to take up careers in rail.

“We will be recruiting every year for new apprentices and encourage anyone interested to get in touch”.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said:
“This announcement is excellent news for Doncaster, our young people and the local economy.  I have always been a great advocate of apprenticeships as a route for young people to learn the hands on skills they need to build a successful and rewarding career so I am delighted Hitachi Rail is committed to this programme.

“The rail industry is significant for Doncaster and with Hitachi Rail set to employ hundreds of people in Doncaster working on their new cutting edge intercity trains and the National College for High Speed Rail set to open its doors shortly, the sector will go from strength to strength.”