Meet Engineering Apprentice, Laurie

Friday, 3 February 2023

Kick-start a career on the railway with an apprenticeship experience!

At London Northwestern Railway we strive to encourage the next generations to join our team. It is a pleasure to observe the growth of our apprentices and to give them necessary tools for their future achievements.

Laurie Bower, our Engineering Apprentice has been on this journey with us since 2018, which is why we have caught up with him to hear about his experience.

What was your motivation for joining London Northwestern Railway as an apprentice?

At the time of my application, I wanted to change career into the maintenance engineering field and was looking at various options. I got the impression that London Northwestern Railway was investing quite heavily in their apprentices and were committed to them for the long term. In hindsight, the company offered me a suite of commitments while all they wanted from me in return is to not waste the opportunity. For someone with no qualifications or experience in the field it was a life changing opportunity.

What did the application process look like?

I found the opening for the position on the apprenticeship listings which put me in touch with Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet). BMet organised a meeting and aptitude tests then put my application through to London Northwestern Railway on my behalf. London Northwestern Railway and BMet then held a recruiting day at the BMet James Watt campus where the applicants underwent team building activities and speed interviews. I was later invited to attend a final interview at the company headquarters on Edmund Street where I was asked a series of questions - mostly relating to personal characteristics. I received an offer of employment shortly after this which I was ecstatic about!

What does your typical day in the railway look like?

Depending on the requirements and state of the fleet of trains, the daily work can vary. On some days we will have large amounts of periodical maintenance and testing to perform, which ensures the trains remain safe and reliable. This is work which is scheduled based on things such as the time passed, distances travelled and hours of active operation. On other days we may find a fault on a train which requires more extensive investigation and repair. With multiple fleets of trains each built years apart there is quite a lot of different tasks and systems that we have to be familiar with.

Laurie at work

Congratulations for winning Apprentice of the Year 2022 Award. How did this recognition make you feel?

I was extremely flattered to have been nominated. The company released all the nominations anonymously and I was surprised by how many people had written such kind things about me. Truthfully, reading the nominations from the people I work with made me happier than the award itself. I'm only as good as the people around me have facilitated and I owe them so much for the constant patience and help over the years. The credit really belongs to those who supported me through the apprenticeship.

What are your favourite parts of this role?

I quite like working with people towards a common goal, it's nice to see your cumulative effort come together when the train is sent out for service. It's also nice to see our trains rolling around the network taking people where they need to go. It's fulfilling to know our work is integral to the daily lives of a lot of people, albeit indirectly.


Thinking of following in Laurie's footsteps? Find out more about careers at London Northwestern Railway and explore current opportunities!