So you want to work in… high speed rail

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by Rebekah Valero-Lee on

With plans for new high speed rail links to connect both London and Birmingham, and Manchester and Leeds, there are currently numerous exciting opportunities for rail engineers here in the UK. The rail link, named HS2, will be the biggest project of its kind in the country, and required HS2 jobs to complete the project will range from engineers and railway technicians to designers and construction workers.

So, how can you get in on the action? To be part of the team that designs and builds the new rail link, you may want to look into becoming a HS2 Area Engineer. As a HS2 Area Engineer, you could have a range of responsibilities, from co-ordinating and reviewing technical designs to meeting with local communities and legal experts to explain the design of the project.

If you think you’d like to be involved in a big project and pursue a career in high speed rail, read through the information below to find out what you need to move forward.

What qualifications would I need?

The quickest way to becoming a HS2 Area Engineer is to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and in some cases a masters in civil or mechanical engineering. For most university engineering courses you’ll need at least five GCSEs (A-C) and two or three A-Levels which include maths and one science – usually physics.

Alternatively, if you don’t have A-Levels, you could either take an Access to Higher Education qualification, a Level 3 Diploma in Engineering, a HNC/HND or a foundation degree. You would then have to use these qualifications to pursue a civil engineering degree.

What skills would I need?

To be a successful HS2 Area Engineer, you’ll need a wide range of skills. Here are a few of the key skills you’ll need to be able to demonstrate in order to land the job.

  • A high level of technical knowledge and an enthusiasm for maths and technology
  • Strong problem solving abilities
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication abilities
  • Good practical skills, which may be backed up with relevant work experience
  • A driver’s licence would also be useful when accessing onsite work

How much could I earn?

Depending on your role in the high speed rail project, your salary could vary greatly. The starting wage for a graduate rail engineering technician tends to be between £18,000 – £22,000, and more experienced staff can earn up to £30,000 per year.

However, if you’re qualified as a civil engineer, your starting salary is more likely to be in the region of £24,000. More experienced engineers can expect to earn in the region of £25,000 – £40,000 a year, and Chartered Engineers can earn an annual salary of between £50,000 – £80,000.

These figures are intended as a guideline only.

What would my working hours and conditions be like?

As a HS2 Area Engineer, your working environment would be both office-based and onsite at projects. You might also have to travel to meetings and events in the surrounding region.

The usual working hours would be 8.30am – 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, however you may sometimes be required to work in the evenings or at weekends to attend public events.

So, do you want to pursue a career in high speed rail? Take a look at our latest job listings for more information. Or, to start a career in rail and for training requirements, visit MVT


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