The rail industry is expanding in the UK. Since the 1950s, the rail system throughout the country has grown steadily, both in terms of track networks and overall train traffic. This means the industry's workforce has also steadily expanded, and professionals are needed for every aspect of the transit infrastructure, from ticket sales to track construction and train operations. It is estimated that trains transport about 8% of all freight carried in the UK, and the sector is therefore quite important to the national economy.
At present, the industry is experiencing a skills shortage, which is projected to continue in coming years as the sector expands. Recruitment agencies have recently seen a particular need for electricians and safety personnel, and those with engineering and mechanical expertise are also in high demand. The Railway Engineering Apprenticeship programme offers a valuable opportunity for young people seeking careers in rail transit. The programme is open to ages 16-18, and even admits a limited number of school-leavers each year.
Salaries vary widely depending on the area providing employment. As more than 58% of all rail journeys start or finish in London, the vast majority of jobs are London-based. Of course, for many in the industry, the career involves frequent travel.