With the government working to improve Britain's road and rail networks transport workers are in demand. Discover how you can play a part with a road or railway job

Large sums of money across a variety of projects have been invested to upgrade journeys for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, while £672million of the government's Levelling Up Fund has been earmarked to develop better transport links.

The aim is not only to ensure better journeys for people across the country, but also to create an enduring legacy of opportunity and skills for the next generation of transport workers.

Opportunities in civil engineering

There are many career options in transport and logistics, but there's particularly high demand for those with a degree in civil engineering.

Civil engineers are vital to the delivery and operation of the world's transport infrastructure networks - this includes highways, rail, airports, seaports, harbours, waterways and urban transport, such as light rail and cycle routes.

Public organisations in the UK such as Network Rail, Transport for London (TfL) and National Highways rely on civil engineers and their technical expertise to help manage, maintain and deliver the country's transport infrastructure. Civil engineers working in private consulting and construction companies also play an essential role in allowing people to travel from A to B in the most efficient way possible.

Working in transport as a civil engineer you could be involved in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of safe transportation systems.

To qualify in this field, you can study for a degree, for example the:

The work is rewarding, but it requires expertise and experience. Achieving a professional qualification with a professional membership organisation, such as ICE and becoming chartered - proves a civil engineer's knowledge, skills and experience.

Find out more about the role of a contracting civil engineer, discover what you can do with a degree in civil engineering and read our 7 tips for getting into civil engineering.

If you're looking to enter the industry, search graduate jobs in transport and logistics.

Jobs on the road

Highway careers are vast and include a diversity of roles, from designing roads and building them to patrolling highways and maintaining them.

If you'd like to work to improve the country's roads, opportunities exist in the maintenance and improvement of motorways and major A roads with organisations such as National Highways.

Civil engineers are in demand for the planning, design and construction of numerous facilities. These operations are not restricted to vehicles, as pedestrian and cycle highways are also crucial aspects of transport infrastructure.

Explore the various National Highways jobs, for example the graduate and apprenticeship schemes, which are available annually. Their three-year graduate programmes are available in a variety of functions, from finance and operations to communications and engineering. Applications usually open in the autumn. You can expect to experience different parts of the agency, with the possibility of promotion after the final year.

In terms of postgraduate study, the University of Nottingham's practical one-year full-time MSc Transportation Infrastructure Engineering takes one year to complete. The course blends academic study with the development of professional and practical engineering skills through project work, so graduates are fully prepared for working in the realm of transport infrastructure. You'll need a 2:1 or equivalent for entry. In 2022/23 the tuition fee for UK students is £11,050.

Transport management and planning

As a transport planner you'll devise plans, policies and projects that improve the systems and services in place. These could be at local, national or international level.

According to TfL its workforce helps to keep 1.4 billion tube passengers, 2.3 billion bus passengers, and users of the capital's 580 kilometres of road moving every year. This is a huge operation and management and planning play a key role in making it happen.

As a TfL graduate you could forge a career in general management. The programme is made up of four rotations within the business, from surface transport teams to those working in commercial development. Other streams under the business umbrella include procurement and supply chain, finance, commercial real estate, project and programmes specialist, sustainability and modelling and analysis.

Engineering programmes include civil engineering, engineering and technology, fire engineering, mechanical engineering and highways and traffic. The latter scheme runs for two years, and you'll need a degree in any STEM subject for entry. You'll complete rotations in traffic engineering, highway engineering, traffic control engineering and road safety. All TfL graduates start on a salary of £28,500.

SYSTRA UK offers a graduate development programme for transport planning graduates.

Cardiff University's MSc Transport and Planning, which is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation (CIHT), is a good example of a course with a broad outlook. While a postgraduate qualification isn't essential, students develop transport planning, policy, operation and management skills, so they can make an effective contribution to organisations in the UK or abroad. Learn more about transport planning courses.

Another important position is passenger transport manager. You'll typically be involved with the planning, coordinating and managing of transport operations while dealing with areas such as budgeting and financing, the management of day-to-day operations, service planning, strategic development, and marketing and PR.

First Group runs a two-year operations management graduate programme where you can join either the bus or rail division.

Railway jobs for graduates

The large rail operators have a number of work experience and apprenticeship places available each year.

There are two routes to consider for those joining the Network Rail graduate scheme. The engineering stream covers civil engineering, electrical and electronic engineering and mechanical engineering. Business schemes encompass finance, network strategy, planning, analysis, operations management and property. As well as the range of graduate schemes on offer, their year in industry opportunities are another way for undergraduates to get that crucial experience in finance, general management, project management, environment and sustainable development and IT and business management. Civil, electrical and mechanical engineering placements are also available.

Also consider Thameslink Railway careers, with the train operator bringing together the Great Northern, Southern, Gatwick Express, and Thameslink railways. It runs the Go-Ahead Rail Graduate Programme, which gives participants the chance to explore all elements of the business.

Colas Rail provides graduates with two different programme options - electrical engineering and rail services engineering. They also run a variety of Level 3 and Level 4 apprenticeship programmes.

Finally, the British Transport Police are tasked with ensuring Britain's railway stations, tracks and depots are kept safe. If this sounds like a career you'd be interested in, read more about joining the police.

Find out more

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