Train driver apprenticeships with Virgin Trains Credit: Virgin Trains

Applications for the UK’s first and only train driver apprenticeship scheme are now open

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

With many of their train drivers nearing retirement eligibility age, Virgin Trains on the lookout for fresh talent. The company is hoping that the scheme will attract a diverse group of people including those who have never considered a career in rail.

Apprentices receive training in all aspects of the train driver role as well as learning based on functional skills, English, Maths and ICT.

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.

Other areas within Virgin are part of the training

Apprentices will also experience other areas of the company. Such as control and command, safety and fleet management. They could even spend time with other Virgin companies, including Virgin Atlantic.

Head of drivers for Virgin Trains, Nick Chadwick, said:

“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.

“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, 24, train driver apprentice graduate said of the scheme:

“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.”

Kevin Lindsay, District Organiser for Aslef said:

“We welcome this joint initiative and look forward to continuing to develop the driver apprenticeship scheme with Virgin Trains as this is a great opportunity to bring young people into the rail industry and particularly the driving grade.”

The scheme follows last year’s successful pilot which received over 1,200 applications for three places on the scheme.

The three places on offer will be based at Glasgow, Wolverhampton and London. Applications close 2nd March 2018.

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