Apprenticeship Case Study: Jessica Ellis – Fleet Apprentice @ tfl

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Jessica Ellis talks about her experiences as an apprentice for Transport for London

What does your job entail?

I am a second year fleet apprentice. My job entails maintaining and preparing the trains to go into service. This includes performing a variety of exams on the trains and replacing faulty components. The first year consisted of six months in college gaining a Level 3 BTEC in Electronics and electrical engineering. The next six months consisted of six week workshops in bench fitting, electrical maintenance, mechanical maintenance and electronics. For the next two years, I will be spending three months at each depot in London Underground, learning about each type of train and gaining experience working on them all.

Why did you choose this job?

I chose this job because I wanted a job where I would be challenged with new problems every day and something that involved manual labour, as I like to keep my mind and body active. There is always more knowledge to gain when working on trains because technology is always evolving. There are so many opportunities working for TfL with a variety of areas to work in.

Was this an area of work you always wanted to go into?

When I was in sixth form, I was studying for my A level exams in order to study dentistry at university. However, I came across this apprenticeship and saw what a wonderful career opportunity it could be. Also, I am able to further my education while on the apprenticeship scheme as well as work without getting into debt.

What is Transport for London like as an employer?

I love working for Transport for London - it is a company that really cares about its employees, particularly their health and safety. The company also encourages you to climb the career ladder and to get experience in different parts of the company. Working in the depots, I have met people who have originally worked in human resources or as train operators. Also, there are some previous apprentices that have since become depot managers.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your job?

I have not come across anything too challenging yet. There are support managers that are ready to help you if you find any of the work challenging!

What have you enjoyed the most?

I have enjoyed meeting a variety of different people in depots. I like hearing their stories about how they started working at the depot and their life anecdotes. My colleagues were so welcoming and encouraged me to learn more about the trains and to be part of the team.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years’ time, I hope to be an Advance Train Maintainer in a depot, hopefully gaining further knowledge about the trains and becoming an expert at fault finding.

What advice do you have for someone looking to apply for a similar position?

I would say to them – just go for it! You are about to start a wonderful career - make sure you take advantage of the colleagues around you, learn as much as you can from them, ask questions and have a voice.

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