We have an outstanding track record of developing careers and fast-tracking career prospects, with 25% of our current leaders in our Rail Infrastructure division successfully completing our critically acclaimed Graduate Schemes.

These schemes are designed to hone and develop talent, with 2-year specialised development programmes as part of our Future Leaders, Commercial and Engineering courses. Many of our current leaders have been through our Graduate Programmes, and we are proud of the fantastic career opportunities that they bring.

You could be a future Programme Delivery Manager, Senior Engineer, or Commercial Manager to name a few, responsible for a large team and budget!

To qualify for our Graduate Programmes, we are looking for at least a 2:2 class degree from a reputable university and the ability to stand out. This could be by undertaking internships, university successes, extracurricular activities and a passion to get involved in the railway industry.

Find out more about our Graduate Programme

Gemma Simmonds our Head of Careers and Development tells you about the journey to success, and what you need to apply.



Our Graduate Programmes

Future Leaders

2 year fast track to management Graduate programme linked to the Association of Project Management, with the possibility of international opportunities for a select few, within one of our UK divisions (Rail Infrastructure, Rail Services or Urban & Industries).

Working in the Future Leaders Programme requires a large amount of flexibility and a great team spirit. You will be working under our senior managers as a graduate trainee to complete various projects, from relaying track in the South East, working on a multi-disciplinary project such as the high profile Wessex project, or supporting delivery in our Freight or Plant team, and anything in-between. There will be a great variety in your activities, from technical work to client engagement, combined with a large amount of on-site work, shifts and nights.

Application criteria:
We accept applications from graduates in any discipline, e.g. All forms of engineering (Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and others), Business Management, Mathematics, Geography, Quantity Surveying.
Commercial Graduate Programme

2 year programme with a distinct focus on the Commercial side of our business. Here you will have the opportunity to learn and develop your skills by working towards becoming a Chartered Quantity Surveyor (QS). You can also do a conversion course to become chartered alongside the scheme if you don’t have a QS degree already.

You will be working closely with our Commercial team but also the experienced operational managers and senior leaders, supporting areas such as the delivery of our pre-contract work, the management of existing and the mobilising new contracts client management in one of our divisions such as Rail Services, Rail Infrastructure or Rail Urban.

Application criteria:
We accept applications from Qualified quantity surveyors but we will also accept applications from any other discipline provided that you show interest in a commercial career in the rail industry.
Engineering Graduate

As part of the Technical Graduate Programme you will work in a technical and operational role with a distinct focus on the engineering side of our business, working closely with our experienced engineers and senior management on improving the UK rail system in divisions such as Rail Services, Rail Infrastructure or Rail Urban.

Here, you will have the opportunity to learn and develop your skills and to work towards becoming a Chartered Engineer in one of our many disciplines: Civils & Pway (Track), Electrical, Mechanical or Civil Engineering Surveying.

Application criteria:
Individuals from engineering backgrounds with a strong desire to pursue development in the railway industry.

“I love the Graduate & Apprentice Programmes. I‘ve grown up with the business, as their first Graduate, and I feel immense pride in reflecting where we’ve been, the contracts and schemes delivered and also how the business has grown.”

Will Bryant
Ops Director


Recruitment Process


When applying for a position within our Graduate Programme, your application will go through several stages. We put a guide together to ease the preparation process for you.

Stage 1 – Online Application

Submit your cover letter and CV, and complete our application form through our online recruitment portal. We’ll then be in touch to ask a few questions about why you would like to work with us.

Stage 2 – Gamification: Psychometric Ability Testing and Personality Testing

We’ll put you through your paces on your knowledge of numerical and verbal reasoning skills, and you’ll also be quizzed on your behaviour, self-awareness and strengths. But don’t worry! We use an online gamification tool, so the process is actually fun and not like the traditional tests – you might even enjoy it!

Stage 3 – Assessment Centre

You will receive an invite to a Colas Rail UK assessment centre or a Teams interview, if social distancing measures are in place. Here, you can demonstrate your ability and meet some of your potential new team-mates face-to-face – as well as meet key leaders from across our business that will provide an insight of what it’s like to work for Colas Rail UK.

Final Stage – An Offer is Made!

The Colas Rail UK recruitment process can take up to two months to complete, which may seem like a long process, but ensures that everyone is treated fairly.


Please note:
To be eligible for any of our schemes you need to have a full Right to Work in the UK – we cannot sponsor individuals in their application for a UK visa.

Hear from our Graduates about their experience!

Meet James, an Overhead Line Technical Engineer who is involved with a number of works with the South Rail Systems Alliance.

Meet Jack, an Assistant Project Manager with the South Rail Systems Alliance.

Our people are our greatest asset



At Colas Rail, we’re united behind three key values that drive our culture and are our guiding principles for everything we do.





Every day, we demonstrate our care for the people that make everything we do possible. We prioritise care for each other, our partners, the environment, and our own wellbeing.


The unique talents, experiences and personalities across Colas Rail aren’t just recognised – they’re encouraged and shared at every level. That’s where new ideas and innovation is born.


As an international leader, we dare to take on responsibilities and drive industry-wide transformation. And we trust our daring teams to take on new challenges and large-scale projects.