Level 3 Apprenticeship

Winning a place on a driver apprenticeship scheme, offered by any of the Driver Academy company members (currently available in England*) is a first class opportunity to an exciting career in the rail industry. A high quality apprenticeship, you will join the country’s existing 16,000 qualified professional train drivers who keep Britain moving. You will develop transferable skills and knowledge that are valued in a wide range of other roles in management and railway operations.

You must be employed by a licenced train operator to undertake the driver apprenticeship. If you do not hold Level 2 English, maths and ICT qualifications you will need to achieve this level prior to being awarded your apprenticeship.

Between 12 months and 18 months long, you will find the apprenticeship programme challenging, stimulating and enjoyable. In addition to the theory-based classroom training that you will undertake, early on in your programme you will get practical experience of driving trains and working alongside experienced drivers, quickly becoming part of your company’s driver team.

Click here to read the apprenticeship standard.

* The Academy members are supporting work to implement the Apprenticeship in Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland.

European Train Driver Licence

As part of your programme you will be supported to achieve your European Train Driver Licence and certificate, a legal requirement of all new drivers on the mainline railway.

First Stage of your Training

Whoever you work for, the first stage of training lasts 11 weeks and builds your knowledge of the many rules and regulations that all professional train drivers must have to keep everyone safe. You must pass a written test at the end of this stage of your training and you cannot move to the second stage if you fail.

Second Stage of your Training

The second stage of your training focuses on the practical aspects of driving. The exact length of time varies between companies and depends upon the complexity and variety of the route and traction knowledge that you will need to learn for your particular company.

Continuous Professional Development

As a qualified train driver you are expected to maintain your commitment to your continuous professional development, which will include keeping your knowledge of the industry’s rules, regulations and standards up to date. You will also be required to undergo regular competence and medical assessments.

Professional Status

We encourage you to join the Institution of Railway Operators, the industry’s professional body, which offers access to a great network of expertise, professional development opportunities and industry-endorsed qualifications.