My name is Max Rankine, I am 16 years old and have just completed a month long work experience placement at VolkerRail.
When my exams were finished and I started my summer break, I decided that I didn’t want to spend my time off doing nothing until I started college in September.
I know I want to work in the rail industry, as I see it as exciting and ever-changing. Through my Dad and his friends, I knew that VolkerRail was a local company that offers employees good progression and career opportunities, so I got in touch to see if they had any placement opportunities for the summer.
After an interview with the signalling engineering manager, Andy Fawkes, I was offered two weeks work experience, which was then extended to a month.
I worked mainly with the installation team within the signalling division, in VolkerRail’s workshop, helping to fix bar work, cable management and install the wiring and equipment within the location cases. To do this, we worked from the design sheets, recording our work as we went, to ensure that each component was secure and fitted correctly.
The team helped me understand installation via booklets and explaining the basics of installation, giving me a deeper insight. I was then able to test the track circuits controlled by the location cases in the training centre, allowing me to see what I built in action.
I also gained experience in testing by attending staff briefing meetings, which let me see what happens after the location cases are complete and what standard the testers are having to work to. This showed me how important they are in the overall process, as well as finding out how important health and safety is on the railway.
This month has given me some skills that I will take forward in my life and career, and I hope that one day I can return and develop my new skills further.
I am grateful for this work experience and thankful for all of the help that VolkerRail and its staff have given me.
“Max has been a real credit to himself during his time here at VolkerRail. He has worked hard, been inquisitive, shown a real interest in the railway and already shows a keen team work ethic. I look forward to hopefully seeing Max walking through the doors again in a couple of years’ as an apprentice and wish Max the best with his exam results and his continued studies in electrical engineering.” - Martin Overton – signalling installation manager