In 2018, Morson Training hit a landmark in recruiting its 50th Track Maintenance apprentice.
At this time, the cohort of Level 2 Canning Town apprentices completed their training to become fully qualified gang operatives, fully integrated into the core gangs delivering on key London Underground contracts for the Morson Group. Among these apprentices was then-21-year-old Ammar Sunderland from Kingston.
Ammar had recently been released from prison and was consequently looking for an opportunity to get his life back on track and build a career. Morson Training worked to offer him an apprenticeship opportunity on their rail programme:
“I was labouring before my apprenticeship and wanted a career with more substance. I found out about MVT online and I’ve really enjoyed getting out on track. It’s great being part of a gang and meeting different types of people from all backgrounds. After this, I want to go on to be a skilled platelayer.”
After spending some time in the rail industry upon the completion of his apprenticeship, Ammar switched industries and did another apprenticeship, this time working for automotive giant Rolls Royce. We caught up with him to find out how his career is developing after his Morson Training apprenticeship.
“My experience on the Morson Training apprenticeship was great. Importantly, I’m really thankful that they gave me an opportunity because I’d just come out of prison. I was trying to find my feet and they gave me that opportunity. The training was great, too.”
Despite enjoying a successful stint in the rail industry, Ammar decided to switch gears within the engineering field.
“I enjoyed the rail industry but I found a different opportunity to work elsewhere with a huge company in the automotive world, Rolls Royce, so I thought I would give it a go. I as moving away too which is part of the reason why I chose to leave the rail industry at that time. Rolls Royce is a huge name in the car industry. After leaving the rail industry, I did a Level 2 and a Level 3 Manufacturing Engineering apprenticeship, involving the assembly of the vehicles. It intrigued me and I decided that’s what I wanted to do and I’m still here now. My job now involves being on the marriage part of things, so I’m actually marrying the body to the transmission and engine. That’s basically my day to day role at the Goodwood plant near Chichester. It’s interesting because you see how cars are put together from scratch.”
Despite no longer working on the tracks, Ammar is clear that the skills he learned through Morson Training’s rail apprenticeship have given him a vital footing in the world of employment.
“I definitely think working as part of a team and under pressure are transferable skills. When you’re on the railway you’ve always got deadlines just like pretty much any other job. Naturally I have deadlines and criteria to meet here, so it helped me be able to use my initiative a lot quicker than before. It also helped me with my problem-solving skills and discipline. Those skills that I learned on the railways are universal an I’ve definitely bought those with me.”
As someone with experience of multiple apprenticeships across two different sectors, Ammar is keen to stress the value of the earn-as-you-learn programmes:
“I generally think it’s a good opportunity and if you do well at an apprenticeship you have so many opportunities to progress, not just within the rail industry but outside of it like I have. I’d advise taking that route if you’re looking to find a career. You’re learning and getting paid at the same time, which is great.”
Morson Training’s Operations & Apprenticeship Manager Andrew Robinson said:
“It’s fantastic to see the progress Ammar has made since completing his apprenticeship with us and it’s very pleasing that Morson Training could play such a key role in helping him on his journey. Whilst things weren’t always plain sailing, Ammar is a great example of what you can achieve with the right attitude, effort and willingness to learn. Positive stories such as this highlight the importance of apprenticeships to both people and businesses in the UK.”