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04 March 2024 by Interview with William McKnight

It's National Career Week and a chance for students and beyond to consider their future path.

In the spirit of celebrating professional growth and advancement, we've interviewed a past trainee from MPI's fantastic scheme about his time and experience on the programme. With a vast landscape of career options, it's not uncommon to find oneself at a crossroads, pondering which direction to take or which opportunities to pursue. For Will, the decision to embark on our trainee scheme was a pivotal moment—a choice that would ultimately shape his trajectory and redefine his career aspirations.

MPI's trainee scheme offers aspiring individuals a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience and training within the rail industry. In partnership with PM Training and Assessing Ltd, MPI provides trainees with access to real-world projects, allowing them to develop practical skills and industry-specific knowledge.

The program has candidates from diverse backgrounds, encouraging inclusivity. MPI Limited understands that a diverse workforce brings fresh perspectives and ideas, contributing to innovation and overall growth. Throughout the trainee scheme, participants benefit from mentorship and guidance from seasoned professionals who impart their expertise and industry insights ensuring that trainees receive personalised support, enabling them to navigate the challenges and complexities of the rail industry.

MPI Limited's trainee scheme is a commendable effort in addressing the skills shortage in the rail industry. By nurturing and developing the next generation of rail professionals, the company is playing a crucial role in ensuring the long-term sustainability and growth of the sector. It is one key way that MPI are redefining recruitment!

So do read on to find out more about what the scheme is like for the individuals and where it can lead!

What first interested you in the MPI trainee scheme and how did it come about?


It was early 2013, I was 18 at the time and was at college studying Engineering. I had completed 18 months at college with the initial aim of entering a career as a Train Driver, once I turned 21. My Dad, who has worked alongside MPI for many years as a new works Signalling tester and points fitter, made me aware of an opportunity coming up to work with him as a trainee works tester for MPI, who were looking to try out a new trainee programme at the time.


Did you have any previous experience within the Rail sector before you started on the MPI Trainee Scheme?

I had no previous experience within the Rail sector. However, at school, I undertook my work experience week with Southern Rail.


 Since completing the trainee scheme, how many different roles have you undertaken within the Rail industry?

I spent three fantastic years with MPI from 2013-2016 - gaining experience and knowledge in different aspects of the job such as new works testing, installation and a brief stint in maintenance. I undertook various training courses with MPI which included;

                   - Signalling appreciation course      

                   - Basic Signalling 1&2

                   - MOD 5 (Assistant tester)

                   - Contec Unistar points fitting

                   - Tubular stretcher bars installation and maintenance

From 2016 to the current day I have been with Network Rail. I joined the company as an S&T faulting and maintenance operative, based at Three Bridges. From there onwards, I worked my way up to senior technician grade after gaining years more experience and undertaking even more training.

I finished my time within the S&T side of the job at the end of 2023. After ten years working on the frontline of the railway, I felt it was time for a change. I left the S&T as a highly experienced COSS, SMTH tester and IRSE licensed fault finder among the many other competencies I had picked up over the years.

Then from November 2023 until last week, I was training as a grade 9 Signaller, based at Three Bridges ROC. I look forward to hopefully speaking to and dealing with some of the people I met during my time with MPI, when they phone me up from trackside!

I am now a fully qualified signaller!

I believe my career within the rail industry so far was made possible from the opportunity given to me during the MPI trainee scheme.


What are the main benefits you feel you have received as a result of undertaking the MPI Trainee Scheme?

From day one, Simon Henser was always incredibly helpful and always looked after me. I will always be thankful for the opportunity that he and MPI gave to me. This is the reason I am where I am now. I have gained so many valuable life skills along the way and have developed a confidence I never would have thought possible before.

Along my journey with MPI, I also gained lifelong friends who I am still in contact with now.

I highly recommend MPI's trainee scheme to anyone looking for a career in the rail industry. Get in touch with the fantastic staff at the company!