A recent report, Technical Matters, highlights the importance of high quality apprenticeship programmes. Apprenticeships offer an alternative route through the education system and help address skills shortages. The report argues that apprenticeships should last for three years and be as demanding as A-levels (BBC, 21st January 2013).

Network Rail understands the importance of high quality training and has put major investment into improving the knowledge and skills of its workforce. Its Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme is a three-year programme, designed for young people with at least 4 GCSEs. By the end of the apprenticeship, young people have the knowledge, qualifications and experience to become engineers in a number of rail-related areas.

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