Hitachi Rail has introduced a new national apprentice and graduate programme in the UK to support its growing activity in the country.

The development will see an additional 56 personnel comprising trainees, graduates and apprentices inducted at the company’s various facilities across the UK over the next two years, including a number of newly built depots.

Hitachi has already begun the recruitment of 46 new apprentices to be appointed at its manufacturing and maintenance sites, including 16 people that have already started working.

The company previously recruited 54 train manufacturing apprentices, who are currently employed at its Newton Aycliffe facility in Durham.

Hitachi also plans to employ apprentices at its train maintenance depots located in Ashford, Stoke Gifford (Bristol), Doncaster and West London.

Additionally, the company has invested more than £250m to establish a network of depots as a part of its commitment towards the government’s £5.7bn Intercity Express Programme.

These training programmes are expected to support Hitachi’s plan to create a new generation of railway engineers and technicians.

"The development will see an additional 56 personnel comprising trainees, graduates and apprentices inducted at the company’s various facilities across the UK."

The company noted that it aims to have at least 5% of its workforce performing in an entry-level training scheme as part of the initiative.

Hitachi also aims to employ more than 2,000 people across 15 locations to enable the company to efficiently carry out current and future rail projects in the UK.

Hitachi Rail is expected to have 281 trains operating across the UK by 2020.

The first new trains are slated to begin operation on the Great Western main line later this year.

Image: Train maintenance work at Stoke Gifford. Photo: courtesy of Hitachi Rail Europe.