Traineeships and Theses

Boost your Railway Career!

,Are you a highly motivated university student or a recent graduate with a passion for railways? If so, FTE offers an exciting opportunity to become part of our team through our student traineeship program. During the traineeship, you will work on real projects actively contributing to our organisation’s daily operations. This hands-on experience will not only enhance your soft skills but also provide a solid foundation in the railway business. Therefore, the traineeship is very suitable for a person with a passion for railways and high motivation to pursue a career within the railway sector, for instance, to work for one of the FTE members.  Additionally, you have the option to incorporate your traineeship into your academic PhD/master thesis if it aligns with FTE's working program. However, incorporating a traineeship into your academic thesis is completely optional.

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FTE Past Trainees

We take pride in the talented individuals who have joined our association, and the fact that we were the stepping stones for them to launch a successful railway career.  You could be the next success story! Take a look at some of our past trainees and read their interviews to learn more about their experiences:

Jan Renc

With us in 2022

As of 2023:
Fianancial/Business Development Analyst at
Leo Express

Interview with Jan

Thomas Raney

With us in 2022-2023

As of 2023:
Capacity Management Process & IT Back Office at

Interview with Thomas

Giuseppe Miccoli

With us in 2023

As of 2024:
Technical Cooridinator at
EIM European Rail Infrastructure Managers

Interview with Giuseppe


About Traineeship and Candidates

Under the traineeship program, FTE offers to students/graduates a unique opportunity to experience the work at an international association already at the starting level. We believe that an early understanding and analysing of the bigger picture of railways (within the scope of FTE activities) benefits the trainee before they start a job with specific tasks. The knowledge might help them to later better understand the motivations of various stakeholders and the context of challenges to be overcome.  

At FTE, we take the involvement of trainees in our work very seriously and we try to guide them with passion, respect and motivation towards their future careers. We establish a regular dialogue, and we listen to their interests and skills so that we can involve them in a constructive, challenging and interesting way.

Depending on  your profile, you can look forward to:

  • Joining 1-2 projects as a project team member, working under supervision and individually;
  • Engaging in meaningful tasks that contribute to the development of European standardisation and future capacity management processes and systems,
  • Developing and refining your soft skills in an international business environment, interacting with representatives of Railway Undertakings and other stakeholders,
  • Opportunities for business trips throughout Europe(on board of a train, even on long distances 😊).

Our philosophy is that the traineeship shall be a win-win opportunity. While you gain interesting and valuable experience, the FTE members can benefit from a motivated person with a fresh perspective, who is trying to actively contribute to their activities and interests.

Currently, the sector experiences an increasing shortage of highly qualified staff. At FTE, we would like to help you to find your way to our sector. You should not expect that you will stay afterwards at FTE, but we would be very pleased if you would successfully apply for a job with one of our members or in the railway system.

Candidates profile

Are you interested in starting your journey with FTE? Would you like to find out if you would fit in? Doing the traineeship with us would require that you should be available 4-5 days per week for a couple of months.

 We are seeking candidates who possess:

  • High motivation and passion for railways
  • Fluency in English (B2+, note that although FTE is based in Switzerland, no knowledge of German and French is required)
  • Proficiency in MS Office
  • A general understanding of FTE mission and ongoing activities

We consider as a plus when you have:

  • Outstanding language skills in another language of the EU (e.g. PL, HU, SI, HR, DE)
  • Interest in one of the following topics:
    • Railway timetabling and capacity planning
    • Rail infrastructure charges
    • Logistics and intermodal transport
    • Allocation and train priority criteria
    • Communication and design

If you are uncertain about combining the traineeship with your academic responsibilities, do not worry. We believe in equal opportunities and are open to flexible working arrangements that suit your needs. We can accommodate flexible working days and hours, and in some cases, we may agree on a hybrid model considering your financial situation. This means you can spend selected weeks in Switzerland and selected weeks on business trips within Europe.

Before applying, we recommend carefully reading the detailed information provided in the call here.

This is an ongoing call, which means you can apply for the traineeship at any time of the year. Your dossier will be evaluated and we will reach out to discuss if your skills align with our team’s needs during the suggested period of the traineeship. We surely get back to you with the next steps.


Thesis Opportunities

For master’s and PhD students, we offer the chance to contribute to the development of future European railway processes by completing a thesis or research on a selected topic from our working program. The conducted work can be of high relevance for Railway Undertakings, providing empirical evidence for business improvement and thus contributing to higher competitiveness of rail.

To apply for an offered thesis topic please contact us at and include your CV and a clear motivation statement. Upon mutual agreement, the FTE office can offer an introduction to the topic and may invite you to the relevant international meetings. Nonetheless, the majority of the work should be carried out independently, including data collection. The thesis may also be combined with a traineeship at FTE, but that is an option and not an obligatory condition.

The currently open topics are:

1. Integration of service facilities into the capacity management process

The associations for Railway Undertakings and Infrastructure Managers FTE/RNE are currently in the implementation of the future TTR process, which focuses on railway capacity planning and railway allocation. Nevertheless, for RU business it is essential to have the right to use the tracks but also to have a reserved slot at the terminal/service facility. These two separate processes are currently integrated only to a limited extent, which shall change. The suggested research should map the current processes for selected service facility types (potentially including the gap analysis) in several selected countries, investigate the market needs of the sector (i.e., best practices in Europe), and finally, propose recommendations (process) on how to integrate service facilities to harmonised integrated capacity/slot allocation, but also the long-term strategical railway planning. The research methodology will be determined through mutual agreement, but it would certainly require at least independent desk research and potentially interviews with the involved stakeholders. The suggestion is to select service facilities from passenger stations, cleaning and washing facilities, and refuelling facilities.

In 2024, FTE plans to give more attention to passenger platforms. The student will have to investigate:

  • How far are investments in platforms coordinated with the development and capacity planning of railway tracks?
  • How far are platforms included in the planning of Temporary Capacity Restrictions?
  • How does the process for the allocation of passenger platforms look like? How far it is digitalised? What are the shortcomings? How are conflicting requests for the same platform solved?

This topic is currently open for application from January 2025.

2. Financial Incentives (Commercial Conditions) for Capacity Commitments

RUs rely on high-quality rail paths to be competitive in the European transport sector. Temporary Capacity Restrictions (TCRs) are massively influencing rail transport day by day. On the one hand, construction works are urgently needed to make the rail network in Europe more attractive and, on the other hand, the current capacity for rail operations must not suffer as a result. A very harmful impact are causing TCRs announced on short notice, for instance not respecting the Commission Delegated Decision (EU) 2017/2075. The research should first investigate the existing financial incentives for IMs to keep the TCR planning stable and list their shortcomings. Secondly, should propose a financial incentive framework, which would be motivating to IMs to plan TCR sufficiently in advance (plan ahead to minimise the payments), and a compensation mechanism to the RUs in cases when IMs do not keep the capacity commitment. Besides, the research might also tackle the issue of the international aspect (a TCR of one IM affecting other IMs and paths on their networks).

This topic is currently open for application from September 2024.