THE rail industry is seeking 50 graduates to join its paid work placement scheme, Track & Train.

Graduates are employed for three, six-month placements: one at Network Rail and two at either a passenger or freight operator or another company within the rail sector to gain a broad range of experience.

The scheme, funded by Network Rail and launched in January 2012, involves companies based across Britain providing local employment opportunities; those living in York or Durham, for example, will be placed at companies in those areas.

It is open to young people who have graduated in the last two years but owing to the tough economic times have found themselves either unemployed or more likely under-employed in a non-graduate level role.

Sam Livesey, 22, from Harrogate, obtained a geography degree from the University of Manchester has been on the scheme working for East Coast Trains and Network Rail in Leeds.

He said: “As somewhere to work my view of the railway has changed massively. Previously it didn’t seem like an option, as perhaps it seemed a little bit dull, or too specialist to get into. I knew there would be a variety of jobs but the scale of the variety has surprised me, with so many different roles, there is something to suit everyone, and no danger of getting bored.”

Patrick Butcher, Network Rail’s group finance director, responsible for the scheme, said: “We know that there are many smart, talented individuals out there that haven’t had their break yet and as a growing industry we can work together to provide challenging, valuable and paid work experience to kick start their careers.

“I’m pleased but not surprised that those who joined us last year have found the placements rewarding and that they can see a potential career in the rail industry. I know that some have already secured permanent positions and we hope to unearth some more untapped talent this year.”

East Coast head of learning and development Steph Oerton added: “The Track and Train scheme offers an excellent opportunity for recently graduated people looking to get their careers off to a first class start within the rail industry.

“For us as employers, the scheme has already demonstrated its worth as an effective way to seek out new talent. The rail industry offers a wide variety of roles, with something to suit almost everyone.

“For the graduates who join the scheme, it’s a golden opportunity to gain excellent experience within the industry, which will greatly enhance their chances of establishing a railway career by showing potential employers that they can use the knowledge they have gained at university to succeed in a work environment.”