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CrossCountry Apprenticeships

Our Apprenticeship programme:

​An apprenticeship is a real job where you learn, gain experience and get paid. You’re an employee with a contract of employment and holiday leave. By the end of an apprenticeship, you'll have the right skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career.  

To become an apprentice, you must not already be in full-time education. YouF can start an apprenticeship whether you’re starting your career, want a change or you're upskilling in your current job. You can have a previous qualification like a degree and still start an apprenticeship. 

At the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll achieve the equivalent education level. For example, if you complete a level 3 apprenticeship, you’ll achieve the equivalent of an A level. 

At CrossCountry we have colleagues at all grades and in many functions completing apprenticeships, from new colleagues who join our business as a Train Manager or Driver, colleagues working in support functions, for example, Marketing or Finance through to our senior leaders.  

Apprenticeship durations vary from 12 months to several years and as a guide, the higher the qualification the longer it takes (there are some exceptions to this).  However, all apprenticeships come with an off the job allocation, whereby colleagues can study during work hours, whether in a seminar, workshop or self-study/research led. 

The cost of your apprenticeship and any associated qualifications are fully funded by the company. There is no charge to colleagues at all, and whilst you remain an XC colleague this will always remain the case.  

When you begin an apprenticeship, we partner with a specialist training provider that will support you throughout your development, you will be allocated an assessor/coach who will be available to you as additional support throughout the length of your program. These people are industry competent and have worked in the rail industry – they are not teachers!  So, for example, the assessors allocated to support our new Train Managers have worked on board for several years, managed stations or been in area/operational management- they understand the demands or your new role.   

Management Development Pathway 

Level 3:

This apprenticeship will enable new management colleagues to support, manage and develop their team members, manage projects, plan and monitor workloads and resources, deliver operational plans, resolve problems, and build relationships internally and externally. 

Suitable for: Team Leaders, Customer Service Managers, DTMs and Assistant DTMs. 

Level 4:

We have also commenced our Transport Operations Management apprenticeship with our first pilot cohort, this comprises of Regional Managers, Customer Service Managers and Driver Team  

This apprenticeship also benefits from an ILM Level 4 Diploma in Management and an IOSH Managing Safely qualification, this is delivered in parallel to the apprenticeship and at no additional time implications for colleagues.

A major benefit is the industry recognised qualifications that colleagues will receive for both their personal and professional development.

Suitable for: Experienced Customer Service Managers and DTMs, Regional Management Team 

Level 5:

We will utilise the Operations/Department Manager apprenticeship.

This is suitable for CrossCountry colleagues who manages teams and/or projects, and who are responsible for achieving operational or departmental goals and objectives, as part of the delivery of CrossCountry’s organisational strategy. 

They are accountable to a more senior manager within CrossCountry. Their key responsibilities will include creating and delivering operational plans, managing projects, leading and managing teams, managing change, financial and resource management, talent management, coaching and mentoring.  

Suitable for: Regional Managers, Heads of Department and Specialist Managers

Level 6:

For colleagues needing to continue their management development (and providing they are in a suitable role) there is the option of undertaking a degree apprenticeship.   

Discussions have started with The University of Aston to offer this apprenticeship to colleagues who have completed the Level 5.  

Options are being investigated to add an additional 18 months and to transfer to the university to achieve a full degree qualification.  

This option can be considered for roles involved in managing complexity and operating at a strategic level.

This includes strategic decision making, setting direction and achieving results, building and leading teams, clear communication, developing skills and motivating others, fostering inclusive and ethical cultures, leading change, project management, financial management, innovation, risk management, and developing stakeholder relationships.

Level 7:

We have already enrolled several colleagues onto the ‘Senior Leader’ Master’s Apprenticeship.  

This qualification is available for colleagues who have senior management responsibility and can include formal governance/director responsibilities.  

This is suitable for roles responsible for setting direction and vision, providing a clear sense of purpose and driving strategic intent.

It covers market trends and environmental influences, identifying longer-term opportunities and risks.   

To be considered for this apprenticeship, a person will need to be considered a role model within CrossCountry, with responsibility for those in senior positions/significant organisational budgets.

Common Myths about Apprenticeships:

I’m too old to do an apprenticeship…

WRONG: You are never too old to undertake an apprenticeship, we have colleagues in XC in their 40’s and 50’s on various programmes. Other TOCs have colleagues in their 60’s and 70’s!

I don’t have the time to do any studying…

WRONG: You are entitled to 20% of your working hours to dedicate to your apprenticeship.

I can’t afford a pay cut…

WRONG: Your terms and conditions do not change at all – your salary remains the same.

I already have a degree, therefore I won’t be able to complete an apprenticeship…

WRONG: Having a degree doesn’t stop you from taking on an apprenticeship, providing there are plenty of new things for you to learn. Apprenticeships are also about demonstrating behaviours, which you don’t do with a degree.

I can’t do an apprenticeship as I don’t have my basic qualifications…

WRONG: You will be supported to achieve maths and English qualifications alongside your apprenticeship, fully funded by CrossCountry and completed as part of your development programme. 

Our Apprenticeship feedback: 


  • I'm really grateful to have been enrolled onto the apprenticeship. It's a fantastic opportunity to broaden my industry knowledge and to learn valuable skills. There is a wealth of learning and development opportunities available to all colleagues that I highly recommend.“  Guy Reed, CSM Reading


  • “If anyone is interested in progressing into management, I can recommend the apprenticeship as an excellent way to prepare for this, giving you an insight and foundation to later build upon. It’s also a great way to build your network, learning from your colleagues’ expertise and experience.”  Elizabeth Jackson, Interim Regional CSM W&W


  • My apprenticeship has been so worthwhile. My tutor was great and I've learned lots of new skills that I can apply to my role as a Trainer. I can't wait to put it all into practice!“ Dan Sheahan, Trainer, Derby


  • I was proud to be nominated for the Level 4 Passenger Transport Operations Manager Apprenticeship, this was an amazing opportunity for me, although it was a lot of hard work, I really enjoyed it.  I passed my End Point Assessment in May of 2023 and would encourage anyone that has the opportunity of completing an Apprenticeship to go for it! Suzie Johnston, DTM, Bournemouth.

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