The transport industry is essential to the effective running of our country and few other sectors offer as many apprenticeship opportunities as this one. If you'd like to gain valuable on-the-job experience while gaining a qualification find out more about your options

A huge range of leading transport employers run apprenticeship programmes. While skills in civil engineering, traffic management and digital technology are particularly sought after, the sector also covers automotive, airline and logistics apprenticeships, so there's plenty of choice for those starting out.

As GOV.UK points out, opportunities exist across haulage, passenger transport operations, passenger transport driver and travel services.

These apprenticeships range from Intermediate Level 2 (equivalent to GCSEs) all the way up to degree Levels 6 and 7 (Bachelors or Masters standard). Read more about the different levels at what is an apprenticeship?

Road and railway apprenticeships

With many of the government's UK transport infrastructure projects well underway, you'll find road and railway apprenticeships advertised regularly.

Transport for London (TfL) has three options in business, engineering and technology. Their business apprenticeships span Levels 3 to 6 and are available in Transport Planning, Project Controls, Project Management, Finance, Commercial Procurement, Human Resources, General Management and Commercial Property. There are currently nine engineering programmes, from London Underground Engineering (Level 3) to Civil Engineering (Level 6). There are two Level 4 technology apprenticeships in Business Analysis and Software Development and one Level 3 in IT Solutions.

Another option is with Highways England, as it trains apprentices in a number of areas across its business. You could work in project management, business administration, quantity surveying, data analysis.

Transport consultancies also often take on apprentices, so bear in mind the likes of Atkins and Arup in your job search.

Railway apprentices could find themselves working as a train driver or in engineering or the management and planning side of operations.

It'll take four years to complete Network Rail's IT and Business Services Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6). Based in Milton Keynes, you'll assist with day-to-day responsibilities as well as take on longer term projects as you gain experience in a range of activities. The organisation also offers a three-year scheme in engineering.

First Group, which covers Great Western Railway (GWR), South Western Railway (SWR) and TransPennine Express (TPE) offers a number of apprenticeships. Depending on the train operator you choose to work for there are programmes in areas such as:

  • administration
  • commercial and train planning
  • customer service
  • engineering
  • management
  • operations.

You can also explore other road and rail careers.

Automotive apprenticeships

Most of the UK's leading car companies run apprenticeship schemes:

  • Aston Martin Lagonda apprenticeships - Intermediate (Level 2), Advanced (Level 3, A-level standard) and Higher (Level 6, degree) awards are on offer in areas including manufacturing, paint, commercial, engineering, IT and design. The salary for the four-year programme is £10,591, although this could rise to £12,936 after six months.
  • BMW apprenticeships - the three-year Motor Vehicle Technician scheme at Advanced Level 3 sees apprentices employed at a BMW retailer while attending the group academy in Berkshire. The technician role is focused on electronics and cutting edge technology. Other programmes are also available in aftersales customer service, body shop, motorcycles and genius training.
  • Jaguar Land Rover apprenticeships - an Advanced (Level 3) technical apprenticeship with the car manufacturer involves spending four years learning the engineering or manufacturing basics, as you earn a wage of £13,000. The organisation also offers a Higher Apprenticeship programme and a Digital Technology and Solutions Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Mercedes-Benz UK apprenticeships - on the three-year scheme, you'll have the opportunity to train as a light vehicle technician, parts operations specialist or heavy vehicle technician, while attending the company's apprentice academy in Milton Keynes.
  • Nissan apprenticeships - training takes place on site as well as at a local college. Apprenticeships focus on two main areas - technical and business or production and schemes range between two and five years.
  • Renault apprenticeships - as a service technician or parts operative, you'll get to attain an Advanced (Level 3) qualification, with the possibility of training to become a senior technician and later a master technician following the three-year programme.
  • Volvo apprenticeships - these last between one and three years, with six programmes available at either Intermediate (Level 2, GCSE) or Advanced (Level 3). You can apply to work as a service technician, parts advisor, accident repair technician, product specialist or business administrator.

In addition to car apprenticeships with manufacturers, car dealers also run programmes across their dealership network or in their head office. You'll also find opportunities with organisations operating heavy goods vehicles (for example, driver apprenticeships at ALDI), taxis and buses.

Airline apprenticeships

Aside from airline graduate schemes, many of the leading operatives within the aviation industry also have dedicated apprenticeship programmes.

For instance, British Airways (BA) recruits apprentices in three business areas: customer (customer service), corporate and support (corporate and support functions, IAG revenue management, project management) and operations (aircraft maintenance, Heathrow operations, IAG cargo operations).

The Advanced (Level 3) apprenticeship in engineering from Virgin Atlantic gives apprentices the chance to train for nine months in Gloucestershire, working on live aircraft while developing their skills. Later in the scheme you'll get the chance to work for London Gatwick and Heathrow operations.

Aerospace leader Airbus also takes on apprentices. Degree apprenticeships are available in: business, digital technology and solutions, engineering, procurement and supply chain management and supply chain operations.

Apprentices who complete a one to three-year training programme with the Royal Air Force are guaranteed a job in their chosen field. Aviation operations, IT and engineering are among the 23 roles you can select from.

Logistics apprenticeships

With customer expectations, automation technology and other changes transforming the logistics industry, this is another area where skilled recruits are needed.

Major firms such as DHL and Unilever look for supply chain apprentices.

For example, DHL offer a huge range of apprenticeships from supply chain and transport to procurement and operations. Their UK Supply Chain Professional Leader Degree Apprenticeship is available in four locations and will earn you a salary of £18,000 per year. It takes four years to complete.

Unilever provide a number of programmes under the supply chain and engineering umbrella. No matter which scheme you choose you'll shoulder real responsibility from day one.

Supermarkets such as ALDI and Morrisons also run logistics and supply chain programmes. Learn more about apprenticeships with these types of companies at retail apprenticeships.

The armed forces also offer logistics apprenticeships; so visit the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy websites to search for opportunities.

Find out more

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