CIRO Apprentice Grad, Benjamin Cowdell ‘steams ahead’ in his career!

CIRO Apprentice, Benjamin Cowdell has been employed as Joint Project Manager for On-Time Performance Improvement at Network Rail (NR) and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) since June 2021, following successful completion of his qualification.

He now works as part of a Continuous Improvement and Strategic Management Team, where he supports and manages projects for both Network Rail and GTR that aim to improve how the railway is run, utilising the skills he gained from his Level 3 Apprenticeship though CIRO.

Benjamin expanded on his CIRO experience: “As a Network Operations Apprentice, I learnt how a control centre reinforces a busy railway network, involving a mixture of local and inter-urban rail services covering London, the South Coast and Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

For most of Benjamin’s programme, he assisted a People Development Team, whose function was to support the competency and the confidence of performing control roles.

The programme allowed Benjamin to develop his project management skills which gave him the opportunity to improve the culture, leadership, learning skills, diversity and inclusive nature of the department.

He said: “The Level 3 Supervisor Apprenticeship helped me to develop personal and professional attributes that I could take forward to improve the competency and confidence of control staff. Such as the creation of high-quality route packs for training and assessing members of staff.

“The Apprenticeship also provided a useful and frequent reflective channel by which I was able to hold myself accountable to the behaviours and skills expected of a team leader.”

For Benjamin, CIRO enabled him to develop his confidence and competency. The mixture of online and face-to-face learning meant he was provided with the opportunity to develop a rapport with his fellow apprentices and tutors, while acquiring new skills to help him in his career.

The Joint Project Manager is currently working on the implementation of a national application that will speed up the way incidents are managed by control staff locally. He said: “I’m also managing a project to improve the competency and confidence of control staff by reviewing assessment criteria and methods, while introducing a new electronic competency management system.”

Benjamin hopes to continue his professional development to support the railway in any way he can. His qualifications and personal enthusiasm for the rail industry will allow him to achieve an improved customer-passenger experience. Benjamin remarked: “I aim to get more people to travel by train as a personal choice, whether for work or leisure.”

The friendly, relaxed aspects of a CIRO Apprenticeship continues in all our graduate’s careers as they often stay in touch with their mentors, keeping them up-to-date on their progress. Our tutors are also on-hand and are able to suggest opportunities to the graduates within the rail industry.

An apprenticeship is an ideal way to continue your rail operations career, combining study with ‘real time’ on-the-job training. If you are interested, please click here to view our Apprenticeships.

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