Ricardo Rail

Ricardo Rail

Ricardo Rail have developed a Level 3 apprenticeship programme in partnership with the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) that enables their learners to develop and demonstrate Technical, Occupational, and Professional Competence against the Level 3 Rail Engineering Technician Apprenticeship Standard (‘the Standard’).

The programme includes technical training, assessment, and qualifications underpinned by a structured work place development plan, over a period of three years. Apprentices are mentored by enthusiastic Industry experts,  and become part of the delivery team on many high profile projects within Ricardo Rail.


The programme begins with a foundation stage, where learners practice and evidence fundamental engineering Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviours that prepare them for the rest of the programme.

With Derby College, they complete a series of Level 2 assessment routes, including:

  • Health & Safety
  • Data
  • Communication
  • Mechanical maintenance
  • Electrical wiring and testing
  • Hand fitting

They also complete intermediate to advanced CAD training, as part of a discreet course with Derby College in their first few moments of starting the programme.

Finally, the learner completes NTAR’s Apprentice Development Programme (ADP), a 5 day development activity for supporting the learner in developing and evidencing key rail Knowledge, in line with the Standard. Designed to ‘fill the gaps’ between the general engineering learning outcomes of the Knowledge Qualification and nuances of rail engineering, the ADP is delivered on block-release at NTAR by industry-experienced, qualified facilitators in a Traction and Rolling Stock, Track, Signalling, Telecommunications, Electrification, and/or the Digital Railway context. 

Technical competence

In order to develop and demonstrate Technical Competence, the learner completes two mandated qualifications.

The first, the Level 3 Diploma in Rail Engineering Technician Knowledge, is studied on day-release with Derby College, with block release over a two year period at NTAR for the more specialist elements. Units include:

  • Working safely within rail engineering
  • Mathematics for engineers
  • Engineering solutions and innovation within the rail industry
  • Electrical and electronic principles
  • Mechanical principles
  • Overground rail vehicle traction and associated systems (Specialist Unit 1)
  • Overground rail passenger comfort, safety and security (Specialist Unit 2)

As part of their Engineering solutions and innovation within the rail industry unit, the learners will devise, manage, and deliver a work place improvement project. This will also contribute to their development and demonstration of Professional Competence against UK-SPEC.

The second qualification, the Level 3 Diploma in Rail Engineering Technician Competence, is assessed in the work place by an NTAR assessor. Units include:

  • Complying with statutory and organisational safety requirements in the rail industry
  • Using and interpreting engineering data and documentation
  • Working efficiently and effectively as a rail engineering technician
  • Hand over and confirm completion of traction and rolling stock maintenance activities
  • Carry out fault diagnosis on traction and rolling stock systems
  • Carry out preventative planned maintenance on traction and rolling stock systems
  • Maintain mechanical equipment within a traction and rolling stock system
  • Maintain electrical equipment within a traction and rolling stock system

    Not all of the criteria can be met at Ricardo Rail, and so external placements are included in the learners’ work place development plan. These take the learners to operational rail maintenance depots to develop the skills they need.

  • The qualification is managed entirely in OneFile.

‚ÄčProfessional competence

In order to complete the programme, the learners must demonstrate EngTech-readiness against UK-SPEC. Their work place development plan ensures that they provided with enough meaningful work and development opportunities to easily a demonstrate their competence and commitment. Progress is captured via their OneFile accounts, in preparation for End Point Assessment.

Occupational competence

Learners must have three pieces of evidence of Occupational Competence in order to meet the requirements of the Standard, and only the employer can confirm their learner is Occupationally Competence. Ricardo Rail, an early-adopter to the Standard, have embraced this, and use their existing Competency Management System (CMS) to track and ascertain their learners’ progress and achievement.

Confirmation is taken from the CMS, and captured in OneFile, ready for End Point Assessment. This way the Ricardo, the learner, and NTAR can be confident that the Standard has been met.

The portfolio

All learners are provided with a OneFile account, for capturing evidence against the requirements of Technical, Occupational, and Professional Competence. The portfolio is set up to be as efficient as possible, allowing the learner to upload one piece of evidence which hits criteria against all three requirements. The system enables the capture and curation of video, photographs, and sound files, reducing the amount of time the learner has to spend writing experiences up.

As the learner enters the End Point Assessment phase, they have the ability to run a ‘showcase’ from OneFile, against each of the types of Competence, giving the reviewer a concise, detailed, and accessible review of their achievement.

End point assessment

The structured training and assessment plan will prepare the learner for End Point Assessment. In line with the Standard, the learner will be assessed for their Technical, Occupational, and Professional Competence.

Ricardo Rail, with NTAR, will determine if the learner is ready to enter the End Point Assessment phase. The decision will be made based on the learner’s progress across all aspects of their apprenticeship.

Technical competence

The learner will complete both the mandated knowledge and competence qualifications to demonstrate Technical Competence. These certificates will be added to their portfolio showcase, ready for employer viva.

Occupational competence

Facilitated by the independent assessment organisation, Ricardo will carry out an employer viva with the learner – assessing their knowledge and behaviours against the Standard, and determining their Occupational Competence in line with the CMS. The learner’s portfolio will need a minimum of 3 pieces of evidence of Occupational Competence. If successful, the learner will be put through to Professional Competence assessment.

Professional competence

The independent assessment organisation will submit the learner’s portfolio and the completed employer viva record to the Professional Engineering Institution (PEI) for a desk-based check against UK-SPEC, to determine the learner’s achievement of EngTech-readiness.

Once all of the above has been completed, the independent assessment organisation will prepare all of the learner’s achievement evidence, and submit for the apprenticeship certificate.

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