Due to major government investment in the UK's transport infrastructure and technology, up to 35,000 apprenticeships could needed in the sector by 2022
While many other job sectors are looking to a new generation of workers to drive growth and fill highly skilled roles, not many have delivered more apprenticeships over the past few years than the transport industry.
Around 2,000 new apprentices have been entering into exciting road and rail careers each year since 2016, with this annual figure set to rise as high as 5,000-8,000 by 2022, according to a transport infrastructure skills report by the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (STAT).
Skills in civil engineering, traffic management and digital technology have particularly been in demand from road and railway employers. However, the transport and logistics 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 degree 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 already well underway, you'll find road and railway apprenticeships advertised all the time.
Transport for London (TfL) has options in areas including management and planning, commercial services, and tech and data.
Another option is with Highways England, as it trains apprentices in a number of areas across its business. You could work in project management, IT, civil engineering, electrical engineering, customer service or business administration.
Railway apprentices could find themselves working as a train driver or in engineering or the management and planning side of operations. For instance, Virgin Trains offers a range of apprenticeships, including a year-long train driver apprenticeship through train drivers' union Aslef.
It'll take three years to complete the Network Rail advanced engineering apprenticeship scheme, which starts in September at the Westwood training centre in the Midlands. You could specialise in areas such as overhead lines, electrification and plant, telecoms, signalling, track or off track. After spending 21 weeks at the centre, you'll be placed at a depot closer to home.
You can also explore other road and rail careers.
Most of the UK's leading car companies run apprenticeship schemes:
- Aston Martin Lagonda apprenticeships - Intermediate, 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 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.
- 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.
- Mercedes-Benz UK apprenticeships - on the three-year scheme, you'll have the opportunity to train as a parts operations specialist, light vehicle technician or heavy vehicle technician at a local retailer or dealer, while attending the company's apprentice academy in Milton Keynes.
- Nissan apprenticeships - training takes place on site as well as at a local college, with schemes ranging between two and five years. The options are: maintenance technician, manufacturing staff (plus those with special skills), administrative assistant and quality technical support staff.
- 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 choose to apply to work for Volvo Cars UK as a service technician, parts adviser, body and paint repair, dealership assistant, sales support or service advisor. All apprenticeships are based at its training and development centre in Daventry.
In addition to car apprenticeships with manufacturers, car dealers also run programmes across their dealership network or in their head office. For example, Lookers offers apprenticeships in accounting, mechanic and aftersales centre roles.
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 contact and customer service), operations (aircraft maintenance, Heathrow operations and IAG Cargo operations), and head office (IAG management and project management). BA also offers 12-month cabin crew apprenticeship development programmes at London Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
The Advanced (Level 3) apprenticeship in aeronautical engineering from Virgin Atlantic gives apprentices the chance to train for 10 months in Gloucestershire before spending 15 months in hangars at London Gatwick or Heathrow.
Aerospace leader Airbus also takes on apprentices in a wide range of areas, including engineering, supply chain, business and technology.
A guaranteed job in your chosen field is offered by apprentices who complete a one to three-year training programme with the Royal Air Force. Aviation operations, IT and engineering are among the 24 roles you can select from.
With customer expectations, automation technology and other changes transforming the logistics industry, this is another area where skilled recruits are needed.