"I was getting to a stage in my life where I wanted to make a change"

Monday 03rd February 2020

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2020 (#NAW2020), Monday 3 - Sunday 9 February, South Western Railway (SWR) is profiling some of the apprentices it's training. Since the beginning of the franchise, nearly 200 members of SWR staff have been on an apprenticeship scheme. 

Lee discusses becoming an apprentice at SWR following 20 years in the building industry.

Who are you?
My name is Lee Renton, I’m 38 years old and I live in Dorset with my partner and two children. My hobbies include going to the beach with my family on sunny days in July and a spin on the mountain bike a couple of times a week.

What apprenticeship scheme are you doing?
I am currently in the first year of my Health and Safety apprenticeship at SWR.

As part of the role, I have the opportunity to attend Portsmouth University to complete a Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA). In the coming months, I will be completing an IOSH (Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) training course that will give me a good base for my future career within the SWR safety team.

I have always been a work to live rather than live to work kind of person. With an apprenticeship scheme, you get out what you put in. Going back into education after many years was a bit daunting, but if you plan your time correctly and focus on the tasks set, then it doesn’t have to take over your life.

What is a typical day/week for you as an apprentice?
Every day is different. I realised that delivering our service requires hundreds of tasks to be completed throughout the company in a variety of areas. So, the first challenge I received from my line manager was to learn the business.  

I met and worked with many different colleagues from various areas of the business. This offered a great insight into the roles they perform and how Health and Safety procedures are applied.

Why did you decide to apply for an apprenticeship scheme with SWR?
I chose to apply for an SWR apprenticeship as I wanted to be part of a new franchise where a culture of safety is spread throughout the business.

Before joining SWR, I worked in different roles in the building industry for 20 years, and throughout my time in the sector, I noticed a change where safety was being placed more and more at the forefront. 

So, I was getting to a stage in my life where I wanted to make a change and decided to go into the safety side of things. I’ve always had a concern for people, and being part of something that is helping colleagues and customers get home safely every day is very rewarding to me.

What are you hoping to achieve once you’ve completed the scheme?
Once I’ve completed this apprenticeship, I would like to take every opportunity that is offered to me by SWR and gain a full-time role within the safety team at a management level.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to apply for an apprenticeship scheme?
The apprenticeship scheme at SWR is brilliant as there are so many great opportunities open to you. Use all the resources available to you and get to know the other apprentices in the years above you as they're full of useful information.