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Getting into the railway with electrical control and instrumentation experience

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Sosaa247

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Is it possible for someone who has been a EC&I technician to get into any railway jobs ?
what is the difference in getting in from someone who has done this compared to someone who has become a mechanical technician?

which One is generally more desirable and has a higher chance of getting in ?
And lastly what are the career options with this background for example what jobs can you go into ?

If anyone can help answer these questions I would really appreciate it .
 
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TSG

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I can't speak for the train maintenance side of things but for infrastructure, all other things being equal, I'd say you're better off than a mechanical technician. NR tend to pay more for electrical skills than mechanical (below the engineer/management grades). The Electrification & Plant department look after various sorts of machinery and switch gear. The majority of signalling work is electrical. Signal & Telecom technicians are generally paid more than E&P technicians I believe. You don't know the equipment or procedures but you have the principles, so you have a decent chance of getting in at the bottom (Operative) I guess. Getting anything above that without experience in that line of work is nigh on impossible for S&T, and that probably goes for a lot of E&P jobs too. From there you will get a lot of equipment specific training, which will help you progress. For S&T you would go Operative>Technician>Team Leader then you could go a variety of ways, managing the technicians or various engineer roles. E&P would be similar I imagine.
 

LCC106

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Hopefully someone will be along soon to help but as the majority on here are (I hazard a guess) wanting to be train drivers/guards you may not get many replies. Best of luck - always worth applying for anything you feel relevant.

Ah! You’ve already had one great reply!
 

Sosaa247

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I can't speak for the train maintenance side of things but for infrastructure, all other things being equal, I'd say you're better off than a mechanical technician. NR tend to pay more for electrical skills than mechanical (below the engineer/management grades). The Electrification & Plant department look after various sorts of machinery and switch gear. The majority of signalling work is electrical. Signal & Telecom technicians are generally paid more than E&P technicians I believe. You don't know the equipment or procedures but you have the principles, so you have a decent chance of getting in at the bottom (Operative) I guess. Getting anything above that without experience in that line of work is nigh on impossible for S&T, and that probably goes for a lot of E&P jobs too. From there you will get a lot of equipment specific training, which will help you progress. For S&T you would go Operative>Technician>Team Leader then you could go a variety of ways, managing the technicians or various engineer roles. E&P would be similar I imagine.
I can't speak for the train maintenance side of things but for infrastructure, all other things being equal, I'd say you're better off than a mechanical technician. NR tend to pay more for electrical skills than mechanical (below the engineer/management grades). The Electrification & Plant department look after various sorts of machinery and switch gear. The majority of signalling work is electrical. Signal & Telecom technicians are generally paid more than E&P technicians I believe. You don't know the equipment or procedures but you have the principles, so you have a decent chance of getting in at the bottom (Operative) I guess. Getting anything above that without experience in that line of work is nigh on impossible for S&T, and that probably goes for a lot of E&P jobs too. From there you will get a lot of equipment specific training, which will help you progress. For S&T you would go Operative>Technician>Team Leader then you could go a variety of ways, managing the technicians or various engineer roles. E&P would be similar I imagine.


right so the process of getting into companies like NR is the same but you are valued a little more and payed a little more with the electric skills rather than the mechanical skills .

That is pretty much the same as the company I am completing my apprenticeship at right now.

They have given me the choice to become a mechanical technician or an EC&I technician but are pushing me towards the EC&I due to high demand and not enough people on it .

I’m not too sure at this point in time what is best for me - even though the electrical side seems to have more advantages .

Yes. Very yes.
Speak to recruitment agencies like TXM Recruit, Ford and Stanley or the daily raters.

I’ll definitely look into them now .
thanks
 

TSG

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There may be a mechanical technician out there who will be very offended by what I say but the impression I get is this. To resolve all but the most basic problems with electrical/electronic systems safely does require a certain level of skill i.e. a technician. A lot of what goes wrong with a purely mechanical system is going to be quite basic, so could be resolved by relatively unskilled people. Many systems aren't purely mechanical, and often when they break you're going to send a technician who's qualified to do the electrical side of a system. If they're smart enough to do that, you can train them to sort out the basic mechanical problems, so they can sort that out too if that's what it turns out to be. I know I'm making sweeping generalisations and I'm sure there are some very skilled mechanical techs out there and some would say I am talking arrant nonsense, but that's my take on why the 'career space' for somebody with electrical/electronic skills is bigger. Unless you are passionately keen to be a mechanical tech or you really hate the smell of solder :) it's a no brainer to my mind.
 

Sosaa247

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There may be a mechanical technician out there who will be very offended by what I say but the impression I get is this. To resolve all but the most basic problems with electrical/electronic systems safely does require a certain level of skill i.e. a technician. A lot of what goes wrong with a purely mechanical system is going to be quite basic, so could be resolved by relatively unskilled people. Many systems aren't purely mechanical, and often when they break you're going to send a technician who's qualified to do the electrical side of a system. If they're smart enough to do that, you can train them to sort out the basic mechanical problems, so they can sort that out too if that's what it turns out to be. I know I'm making sweeping generalisations and I'm sure there are some very skilled mechanical techs out there and some would say I am talking arrant nonsense, but that's my take on why the 'career space' for somebody with electrical/electronic skills is bigger. Unless you are passionately keen to be a mechanical tech or you really hate the smell of solder :) it's a no brainer to my mind.

The environment I will be working in is like a very big chemical plant where they have many different systems in place and if you take the EC&I route you will do a lot of fault finding , calibration to equipment and so on .
I have been told that due to the environment I will obviously have to do and be taught basic mechanical work as well to be able to do my job .

When I asked some of the current EC&I guys they said it is a lot harder to get recognition while doing this work compared to the mechs and harder to get promotions but it’s still there .

Right now I am 99% sold into doing the EC&I path rather than the MECH path as like you said in the future and on the job it won’t be hard to pick up mech skills but it will be hard to pick up electrical skills without long training.

My one and only concern is , let’s say when I need a job change into other fields / companies , how readily Avaliable / needed are EC&I techs ?
We always hear about mech techs moving into other fields for example one of our guys went into TFL and another into a car company , but what about the electrical side ?
I haven’t really heard stories of electrical guys moving about - so I have nothing to go off .


So, are there electrical jobs readily available/ in demand in sectors like the railway and let’s say the airport / aeroplane side of it ?
What potential jobs could I go into in the future if I ever need to leave my current position as an EC&I tech ...
 

TSG

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I can't really answer a lot of what your asking beyond suggesting going on to the recruitment sites and seeing what's out there. I work in rail infrastructure and can tell you about that, but other sectors and their career paths are not something I know a great deal about, sorry. I'm certain rail infrastructure would pay more if you had trained as EC&I and became a signalling technician than they would if you were a mechanical technician and became a track technician. However, I'm sure either path would give you transferable skills to take to other industries.
 

Sosaa247

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I can't really answer a lot of what your asking beyond suggesting going on to the recruitment sites and seeing what's out there. I work in rail infrastructure and can tell you about that, but other sectors and their career paths are not something I know a great deal about, sorry. I'm certain rail infrastructure would pay more if you had trained as EC&I and became a signalling technician than they would if you were a mechanical technician and became a track technician. However, I'm sure either path would give you transferable skills to take to other industries.


yeah thanks for your advice it definitely makes sense . I think I am going to go for the EC&I and see how it goes in the future .

quick side question, what is the average pay for a signalling technician when also including the shift bonuses ?
I understand the base pay but how much is the shift bonus annually ?
 

Stigy

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I’d say the electronic/mechanical skill set is largely transferable to be honest (for example, a TOC will likely take you on on the basis that you tick all their boxes mechanically, because of the electronic experiences, and would just require a degree of specialism once in post). Pay at a TOC for fully qualified fitters/technicians is very competitive too.
 

TSG

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A legacy of Railtrack days when the technicians worked for various contractors is that they are on a variety of terms and conditions, and pay scales, depending on where they are in the country. Thus that is not an easy question to answer. Also, obviously the amount of shift premium earned is going to depend on the roster. I'd estimate most rosters split about 1/2 to 3/4 evenly between early, late, and nights, then the remainder varying on location. London terminal approaches, that remainder will be probably be more nights. Middle-of-Nowhere Junction will likely have more days. Some of that remainder could be a cover week where you fill whatever holes there are due to leave etc. There are places without rostered nights and there are some jobs that are almost permanent nights. T&Cs may vary but it may be something like Mon-Fri 0600-1800 is Time, Mon-Fri 1800-0600 is T x 1.25, Sat-Sun 0600-1800 is T x 1.15, Sat-Sun 1800-0600 is T x 1.4, Christmas Day T x 3. Base pay near London would probably range from about 25k for an operative, to about 50k for an experienced team leader. The shift premiums are on top of that and there'll usually be opportunities for overtime. The performance bonus scheme usually pays a few hundred pounds a year.
 
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