Congratulations to Katie on finishing her first year of her three year graduate scheme with Network Rail. We recently caught up with her to discuss how her first year with Network Rail has gone, the application process for the graduate scheme and what advice she would give to her fellow Bright Network members.
Why did you apply to Network Rail?
Network Rail seemed to have a really sociable working environment filled with easy-going people. Furthermore, when applying I saw that Network Rail offered the ability to work out of any office. This flexibility and their sociable working environment were the main two factors that attracted me to Network Rail.
What was the application process for this graduate scheme like?
The first thing I had to do was to submit a CV and a cover letter online. After this, I had to take part in a phone interview before being invited in for a face-face interview. During the face-face interview I was asked questions specific to railways for the most part in addition to the usual motivation-based questions. This meant I faced questions ranging from “What do you think is an important safety issue to keep in mind when planning railway projects?” to “Why do you want this job?’. In the final stage of the interview process I had to deliver a presentation on how I felt that railway stations could be improved.
What work have you done in your first year with Network Rail?
My scheme with Network rail means that over three years I will work in four different roles. My first role ran from September 2017 to the end of August 2018 and then my next three rotations will be 8 months each. My next rotation actually starts this September and I’ll be working in project management overseeing the maintenance of different railway stations and sections of track among other projects too. This past year has actually been a very mixed role. My main focus, however, has been on examining labourer productivity. This has involved a lot of data crunching and reporting back on the data that I’ve analysed. I’ve mainly been analysing how efficiently our contracted maintenance staff have been working. I also spent time working on the East – West railway project linking Oxford and Cambridge in addition to shadowing senior figures like project managers. Having the opportunity to shadow senior figures taught me a lot and I loved getting the chance to work on a major project such as the East – West railway!
What three tips would you give to a fellow Bright Network member about to apply for a graduate scheme?
- Really research a company, go on their website and get to know what they do inside out.
- Apply for a few different jobs, don’t place all your eggs in one basket.
- Record yourself delivering presentations or answering interview questions. Afterwards, go back and review these films to figure out what you think you might be doing wrong. This technique can really help you nail your presentation and interview techniques.
What was the hardest interview question you’ve faced?
What is your biggest weakness?