Powerful RPO solution for Network Rail Apprentices

On the right track.


Network Rail run, maintain and develop Britain’s rail infrastructure. Every year 1.3 billion journeys are made on Britain’s railways; and 100 million tonnes of freight is transported by rail between ports, factories and shops. Over the next 30 years, passenger demand for rail will more than double and freight demand expected to increase by 140%.


Amberjack managed high volumes of candidates delivering superb levels of care with empathy, tact and professionalism, sometimes in very challenging circumstances.

New Entrants Resourcing Specialist, Network Rail


We had supported Network Rail with their graduate and internship recruitment since 2001. As a proven partner we were then asked to manage recruitment for their apprentices.

Network Rail needed to recruit over 200 apprentices for 85 regional depots. They needed a powerful recruitment outsourcing solution to support these objectives. They also needed to solve a significant issue with their existing recruitment process.

Candidates needed to select a location from the 85 regional depots to work at. But the system allowed candidates to select any depot location they wanted. This allowed, for example, candidates in Liverpool to apply for apprenticeships in London. But no checks were made to see if candidates could support themselves in their chosen locations. This meant that large numbers of candidates were excluded from the recruitment process. It also caused serious time delays and increased recruitment costs. Perhaps more importantly it had a negative effect on candidate experience.


We developed a powerful outsourcing solution to manage the apprenticeship recruitment. This process began by fully understanding Network Rail’s objectives for the campaign. Then we built on this knowledge, adding our proven experience.

The resourcing team used our Pipeline Performance Tool (PPT) which ensured that campaign remained on track. Candidate communications were managed efficiently. This meant the inexperienced candidates and often their parents remained engaged throughout the process.

Our award winning Ambertrack Application Tracking System (ATS) supported the candidate journey. They benefitted from personalised account areas and messaging that kept them engaged. Candidates knew exactly where they were in the recruitment process at all times.

To solve the depot selection issue we developed innovative mapping technology in Ambertrack. We asked candidates where they would be staying during their apprenticeship. Postcodes were then mapped against the 85 Network Rail depots; then candidates could only select depots that were within a commutable distance to where they would be staying during their apprenticeship.



The powerful outsourcing solution and the use of geospatial location technology was a huge success. Over 4,000 applicants applied to the apprenticeship programmes. All candidates applied to local depots close to where they would be staying during their apprenticeship. And no candidates were excluded or had to drop out because they lived too far away.

Proof of the high level of engagement the campaign provided is demonstrated by application conversion rates of 48%. 211 high-quality hires were made. And because of the exceptional level of candidate experience withdrawal rates were just 4%. An exceptional result for this high volume recruitment campaign.

To download your copy of this case study, click here.