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Advice needed for a university engineering student wanting to enter the rail sector

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mgiga97

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I am 19 years old and studying an Electrical and Electronic engineering undergrad degree at university and have loved trains as long as I can remember, to the extent where I had the tube map pretty much memorised by the age of 7. I'm sure I can go on ad nauseum about my love of railways but there is one specific reason I'm posting today.

Being a matter of weeks away from starting my second year at university, I am beginning to look into potential companies I can apply to, to take part in a summer internship next year. I am disappointed at the lack of information and guidance available online for students (especially in engineering) who want to enter the rail sector. For example, Network Rail have no information on their website regarding engineering internships although there is plenty available for finance, business, HR and the like.

Another option would have been to attend networking events, however these aren't common and cost far too much, unlike similar events for engineers aspiring to enter the space / aviation industry of which there are plenty, and generally don't cost much at all.

Help and advice would be very much appreciated, regarding how I can set out a pathway for myself to enter the rail sector, and also regarding skills I should look to develop. I'd also travel abroad for an engineering job in the rail sector if I had to.
 
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fowler9

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Have you thought of getting a job in a call centre? It is what most UK engineering graduates do, myself included. Look at moving abroad. Unless of course you are looking at a first from a Russell Group University in which case just pummel the companies with your CV.
 
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edwin_m

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Have you thought of getting a job in a call centre? It is what most UK engineering graduates do, myself included. Look at moving abroad.

That's not the experience at my employer, where we generally can't get enough good engineers to work in the rail sector or any other. Have you checked the websites of the large engineering consultancies?
 

mgiga97

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Have you thought of getting a job in a call centre? It is what most UK engineering graduates do, myself included. Look at moving abroad.

Holy crap I'm worried now. I'd love to know If they're still selling high school students the lie of there being a widening gap in the STEM (particularly the E in STEM) field!
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That's not the experience at my employer, where we generally can't get enough good engineers to work in the rail sector or any other. Have you checked the websites of the large engineering consultancies?

Would you be able to list a few who are involved in the rail sector? I'll be having a harder look into them come September.
 

fowler9

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Holy crap I'm worried now. I'd love to know If they're still selling high school students the lie of there being a widening gap in the STEM (particularly the E in STEM) field!

Mate don't let me get you down. This country has a service based economy though and if you want to get in to a specific field of engineering you have to be the best of the best so work hard and you will do it. :D I wasn't the best of the best.
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Throw everything you have at it. Any companies you can think of involved in the sector you want to work in. Make them know they need you working for them.
 

edwin_m

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Would you be able to list a few who are involved in the rail sector? I'll be having a harder look into them come September.

You ought to be able to find this out with a little research or via your university careers office if they have such a thing, but to give you a starter:

General engineering consultancies with involvement in UK Rail include Mott MacDonald, Atkins, AECOM, WSP (incorporating Parsons Brinckerhoff). The big names in signalling are Siemens (formerly Invensys, Westinghouse), Atkins again and Signalling Solutions, with Thales doing quite a bit in systems. There are also smaller companies such as Delta Rail, Tracsis and Ricardo Rail who specialise in niche areas. There are probably others - apologies to those I have left out!
 
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