Newcastle College trainees

We have offered primary sponsorship to twelve trainees from Newcastle College’s specialist rail academy.

The agreement followed successful work experience arranged for the students during a blockade on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

VGC operations manager Tommy Hunter managed the trainees on work for TxM on the Nexus £90 million Tyne and Wear phase 2 asset renewal programme. They were paid at the full market rate and gained valuable experience on site. “The students really showed what they’re made of,” said Tommy. “Their attitude and performance were excellent, and it was clear that they’ve gained a solid grounding in rail work from the Rail Academy.”

The partnership comes after VGC’s support of the inaugural Rail Academy awards last summer. “We’re preparing for growth in the industry. Our partnership with the Rail Academy is helping us to tackle the skills shortage, which will become even more pressing as major new projects like HS2 and the Northern Hub works get under way,” Tommy added.

Alex Marsden
Alex Marsden

Trainee Alex Marsden enthused: “I really enjoyed the work, putting into practice all I’ve learned in college. The VGC supervisors looked after us carefully and I’m really looking forward to starting my long-term career with VGC. It is great to work on a really large project like the metro: I will be able to say to everyone that I was part of it.”

Trainees Ryan Fairs, Craig Hall, Alex Marsden, Owen Pemberton, Francis Vance, John Bowman, David Mitchell, Rhys Thomas, Thomas Trevorrow, Yolande Race, Craig Patrick and Matthew Kirkham have been working towards Newcastle College’s Level 2 Certificate in Engineering or Level 3 Diploma in Rail Engineering.

As soon as they finish their courses, VGC has guaranteed them primary sponsorship on our next available local project, setting them up for the best possible start in their long-term career in rail.


Primary sponsorship

As part of keeping rail workers safe, no-one can work on Network Rail projects without a primary sponsor. The primary sponsor provides their personal protective equipment (PPE), takes responsibility for checking competencies required for their job, and ensures they work safely.