Virgin Trains seeks new apprentice train drivers

Virgin Trains has opened applications for the UK’s first and only train driver apprenticeship scheme.

Working with train drivers’ union Aslef, the train operator is looking for three people to join the year-long training course offering a unique opportunity to experience what it is like to be a train driver.

Many current drivers are getting close to retirement eligibility age and Virgin Trains is on the lookout for fresh talent to join the company. They are hoping that the scheme will attract a diverse group of people, including those who had previously not considered a career in rail.

The apprenticeship scheme gives trainees the chance to receive training in all aspects of the train driver role, as well as additional learning based on functional skills and English, maths and IT. During the scheme they will shadow drivers, train managers and station staff so they can gain a full appreciation of how the driver’s role fits within wider operations. They’ll also benefit from experiencing other areas of the company, including control and command, safety and fleet management – and they’ll even get the chance to spend time with other Virgin companies, including Virgin Atlantic.

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“As someone who joined the rail industry to become a driver as an ambitious 19-year-old, I am keen to give the next generation the same opportunity,” Nick Chadwick, head of drivers at Virgin Trains, said. “We're delighted that all three of the apprentices from the pilot have gone on to join our driver trainee scheme. We're looking forward to seeing the next three fortunate candidates come through the doors.”

Samantha Jones, train driver apprentice graduate, added: “This apprenticeship has given me a chance to see what it's like to be a driver. I can't wait to start my official traineeship and eventually be responsible for getting thousands of customers to their destination every day. I hope the scheme will encourage more women to consider a career as a train driver – it's been such a rewarding experience for me.”

The scheme follows last year’s successful pilot, which received more than 1,200 applications for three places on the programme. Applications for the three places based at Glasgow, Wolverhampton and London are open now and close on March 2nd 2018. For more information, visit the Virgin Trains careers site.

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