“ It contained information, not only applying to Network Rail, but also any other job you could apply to.”
“The webinars were really insightful, helping you for the future including with employability and cover letter tips.”
“It showed paths in careers that I didn't know existed. The graduate pathway has given me ideas as to what I could do after university.”
Network Rail manages and maintains Britain’s railways. They are one of Britain’s biggest employers with 42,000 staff, they also support more than 100,000 jobs through the rail supply chain. Network Rail is an employer with a vast array of differing roles – from those maintaining the railways through to admin, HR and digital specialists.
We loved the brief from Network Rail as it truly put students first.
As experts in work experience, we know how important it is that those of school and college age are exposed to multiple workplace settings and Network Rail really understood this too.
Their brief was for us to help them create virtual work experience that would reach a diverse student cohort and would leave them more confident, more skilled and feeling better equipped and enthused about their future prospects.
“If we can inspire groups or individuals to be the best they can be, then we will have succeeded”, they said.
A clear aim, and one to put to our programme creation tribe.
Network Rail gave us a blank slate and with no pre-existing content that had to be included, our programme creators were able to come up with creative solutions to match the brief.
We wanted to base modules on Network Rail and the wider transportation industry, but also broaden them out to build career skills. We wireframed a structure that would be broad enough for any student, yet also have enhanced detail for those who had specifically chosen this placement with career choices already in mind.
In partnership with Network Rail, we focussed on the digital work that goes on behind the scenes, for instance the IT infrastructures and architecture that underpin a national transportation system.
As with all virtual work experience programmes, a modular approach was used and these showcased routes into the industry before then developing students’ core skills. The first module detailed the apprenticeship route into Network Rail and the second the Graduate Route, emphasising that as with so many careers, there is not a one-size-fits-all route in.
The Essential Skills modules included a mock interview-style activity, ways to ace applications and a final live webinar, producing a well-rounded overall programme.
We delivered a diverse cohort of 258 initial participants. The largest group by ethnic background was Asian (48%), followed by white students (33%) and black students (10%) were the third most common.
A third of participants (33%) were women with 63% men (others, trans, non-binary or preferring not to say). A quarter were in receipt of free school meals.
Students felt better informed about the industry with 95% rating awareness as good or excellent vs 47% before completing the programme and 65% were either likely or very likely to consider a career vs an initial 49%.
Confidence also increased with 83% feeling at least ‘somewhat confident’ about future prospects against 69% before, 78% also felt a good degree of confidence speaking to industry professionals, an increase of 15%.
The average programme rating received was 8.1/10.
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