Your Ultimate Guide to a Career in Transport

Are you fascinated by movement or mechanics? Want to help people get from A to B? You might be suited to a career in transport.

Rail, road, air and sea, the UK transport and logistics sector is a massive industry encompassing hundreds of job roles across planning, engineering, and operations. By helping to keep people in the UK moving, you can also help boost the economy.

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Transport Apprenticeships

The Basics

Transport apprenticeships are many and varied and could help you begin a long career in one of the UK’s biggest industries. Many transport apprenticeships are suitable for school leavers, so it can be a good option for young people looking to get involved in a fast-paced industry with clear career progression.

These apprenticeships combine a living wage with learning practical skills and gaining the qualifications necessary for you to perform essential roles within the transport and logistics industry.

Types of Transport Apprenticeships

Road & Rail Apprenticeships

Most of the high-profile UK road and rail operators offer apprenticeships. You can study various aspects of the industry, including signaling design, vehicles engineering, data technician, civil engineering, software development, and infrastructure operations at levels 3-6.

Automotive Apprenticeships

Companies such as Mercedes-Benz UK, Volvo Nissan offer level 3-6 apprenticeship programmes, including applied professional engineering, supply chain and logistics, parts operations, and light and heavy vehicle technicians.

Aviation Apprenticeships

World leaders such as Airbus, Boeing, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways offer operations apprenticeships covering disciplines such as aircraft maintenance, flight services, aircraft fabrication and engineering.

Logistics Apprenticeships

This type of apprenticeship covers warehouse, supply, and distribution.

Transport Planning Apprenticeships

Transport planning is at the heart of the industry. It relies on analysis and forecasting to determine travel patterns, city planning, and more.

You can apply for a BSc Transport Planning Degree Apprenticeship at universities, including Aston University This is a five-year apprenticeship programme aimed at school leavers and level 3 Transport Planning Technician apprentices.

Entry requirements?

To be eligible for an apprenticeship in the UK, you must:

  • Be 16 or older
  • Be a UK resident or have the right to work in the UK
  • Not be in full-time education

For transport apprenticeships, the entry requirements will vary depending on the level of the apprenticeship and the organisation running it. 

Most transport apprenticeships will require good GCSEs or equivalent in maths and English, although you may be able to work towards these qualifications as part of the apprenticeship programme.

For some transport apprenticeships (such as train drivers) you may need to pass physical and psychological assessments. You may also need to be 18 or older for some positions.

You will also need to be a problem solver, enjoy varied work and thrive under pressure. Working in transport and logistics can mean unsociable hours, many responsibilities and a high degree of unpredictability, so you must be responsible, confident and able to think on your feet.

Apprentice Levels

There are several levels of apprenticeship, based on the complexity, amount of experience required and the qualification you are working towards. Qualifications that you could earn include:

Level 2 (intermediate) – equivalent to 5 GCSEs (grades 9 to 4)

Level 2 transport apprenticeships are provided by prominent UK companies, including The Skills Partnership, Northern Trains Limited, and London North Eastern Railway Limited. If you are more interested in cars, consider the Aston Martin Lagonda apprenticeships, ranging from level 2 to degree apprenticeships. 

Level 3 (advanced) – equivalent to 2 A-levels

Transport for London offers level 3-6 apprenticeships in London Underground and rail,  technology, business, and engineering under its transport banner. You can find level 3 automotive apprenticeships at BMW, and Jaguar Land Rover, among others.  

Levels 4 and 5 (higher) – equivalent to a foundation degree 

Highways England has recently introduced level 3 and 4 apprenticeship programmes in addition to its degree apprenticeship scheme. 

Levels 6 and 7 (degree) – you can earn a full bachelor’s and/or master’s degree.

That’s right, higher apprenticeships can help you to get a full degree, without going to university and sometimes in a shorter duration than traditional degree courses.

Degree Apprenticeships

You can find transport degree apprenticeships across the industry, from aircraft maintenance and car fabrication to transport planning. 

Transport degree apprenticeships typically last between three and six years and see you graduate with a recognised bachelor’s degree or master’s in transport. 

You learn in your workplace and are backed by a mentor, which gives you the tools you need to succeed in this busy and ever-changing sector.

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