Telecommunications Engineering Degree

Apprentice Standard Rail and Rail Systems Engineer

How long: 3 years 

Where: London (there may be some hybrid working involved depending on the placement). College location will be dependent upon course availability

Salary: £25,264 

What you'll need

You should already hold or be working towards a minimum of 5 GCSEs Grade 4 (C) and above including Maths and English Language (or equivalent) plus 3 A Levels at grades BBB (or equivalent) which must include Maths and/or Physical Sciences.  

Candidates with equivalent level 3 qualifications must hold or be on track on achieve one of the following:   

  • BTEC National Diploma DDM, including Level 3 Mathematics and Physical Sciences (128 UCAS points)
  • EAL Technical Extended Diploma in Engineering Technologies, D, including: Further Engineering Mathematics; and other options relevant to Electrical, Mechanical or Civil engineering   
  • Access to HE qualifications with 24 Distinctions and 21 Merits, with at least half the course in Mathematics and Physical Science subjects (122 UCAS points)  
  • Equivalent level 3 qualifications worth 120 UCAS points and including Mathematics and Physical Sciences

You must be 18 years old before the start date to be eligible for this scheme.  

You are not eligible for this scheme if you currently hold or are working towards a qualification at the same or higher level in a related subject or have already studied content from the qualification for this scheme. 

You will be required to provide original certificates and/or predicted grades as proof for your eligibility checks. 

Your offer will be subject to a satisfactory medical which may include (but is not limited to) drugs and alcohol screening, eye test and hearing test. 

Did you know?

Former apprentices have gone on to be senior managers and directors in TfL, while others have gone on to lead major companies and projects such as HS2

Job overview 

Our Engineers focus on the assets that form the foundation of our transport system. Telecoms Engineers are responsible for the design and acceptance of new communications solutions across the underground and TfL, utilising both legacy and modern types of communications equipment. These engineers are responsible for the communications systems that support the delivery of an efficient and reliable transport service. 

What you'll be doing

Your development programme will be made up of up to 6-9 placement rotations. Our aim is to equip you with the range of skills and experience you need for your successful career. We also understand that everyone's career is different, so every apprentice's journey is unique. Here's an idea of what yours could look like: 

Year 1 

Placement 1 - Operational Communications Systems (Stations) - 6 months

  • Be involved in many aspects of the delivery of an Operational Communications Systems upgrade project, including Design Reviews, System Delivery, Implementation and Project Safety & Assurance
  • Assist in ensuring that designs meet the required specifications and apply project control processes, including risk assessment and hazard identification
  • Assist with and observe testing & commissioning activities

Placement 2 - Fixed Transmission Systems - 3 months

  • Undertake various Engineering Assurance activities, such as supporting the delivery of IP and legacy communications systems and producing Written Notices to amend and clarify engineering standards
  • Get involved in Incident Investigations to identify root causes and recommend solutions and improvements

Placement 3 - Wireless Systems - 3 months

  • Employ a variety of Wireless Systems used across the business, including radio systems used by TfL staff and Emergency Services
  • Be involved in the specification, testing and delivery of changes to these systems assess each change with respect to its complexity and novelty, undertake risk assessments and compile the evidence to produce the required Safety Case

Year 2 

Placement 4 - Surface Operational Systems - 6 months

  • Spend time with the Surface Operational Systems
  • Gain hands-on experience of operational systems including SCADA, CCTV, Radio

Placement 5 - LU Asset Operations - 3 to 6 months

  • Be involved in communications systems operations and maintenance including working with the internal or external maintainer

Placement 6 - Cyber Security - 1 to 2 months

  • Cyber security isn't just about IT systems; many engineering systems use computer-based equipment and networks, including common systems. Work with the Cyber Security team to understand and support this aspect of communications systems
  • Assist with responding to cyber security incidents and help to provide cyber security advice to senior discipline engineers

Year 3 

Placement 7 - Capital Delivery - 6 months

  • Spend time working on a major capital delivery project, such as the delivery of systems for the introduction of new rolling stock or major communications systems upgrades

Placement 8

  • Return to preferred placement for final 6 months

To ensure that you gain sufficient breadth and depth to build up your portfolio of engineering experience and knowledge, all Telecoms Systems Engineering Apprentices will undertake the following placements: Major Projects, Station Operational Communications Systems,.

Placements may vary in duration but are typically 3-6 months long. This will depend on the details of the work being undertaken during the placement. For example, one apprentice may have a 6-month placement with one Major Projects team, but another apprentice may have 2 3-month placements with 2 different Major Projects teams. This may necessary to ensure that you continue to gain sufficient breadth and depth of experience, particularly as each project progresses through its various stages. 

During the course of your placements, you will need to gain an understanding and experience of Engineering Safety Management and cyber security. It may be possible to gain sufficient experience and understanding in these areas during the core placements, depending on the detail of the activities undertaken. 

There is scope for apprentices to arrange placements in areas other than those listed above, such as rolling stock (vehicles) or rail or road signalling, provided that the activities/work to be undertaken continues to grow and build your portfolio of evidence and experience. 

Where this career can take you 

Upon successful completion of this scheme, you could roll-off into the telecoms team, designing modifications to the existing communication systems and contributing to the introduction of new communication systems. The activities undertaken as a Telecoms Engineering Apprentice will also stand you in good stead if you wish to progress within the Telecoms Discipline.