Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has offered 10 young people from Luton, Cambridge, Stevenage, Brixton and Bedford new roles with Thameslink, Great Northern and Southern, after they graduated last week from a work experience scheme the rail operator runs with the Prince of Wales' charity, The Prince's Trust.
The 10, who have struggled to remain in consistent employment, have graduated from a four-week course – The Prince’s Trust ‘Get into Railways’ programme – and will start in their new roles across the GTR network in the coming weeks.
As part of the 13th course with the charity, The Prince’s Trust and GTR have helped a total of 12 more young people gain valuable work experience in the rail industry, including first-hand experience working as customer service assistants. They gained a real and rewarding insight into working life behind some of Britain’s best known rail brands, with four joining Great Northern, three joining Thameslink, and another three joining Southern. The remaining two will receive six months’ progression support to help them find work or further training.
Ben Smith, 24, from Ware in Hertfordshire, (pictured fourth from left, front) will be joining the Great Northern team at King’s Cross following the course. He said: “This programme made me a better person. It was recommended to me by my friends and it was such a fantastic opportunity – one that I didn’t think I would ever get.”
Jack Field from Houghton Regis, 20, (pictured, front, squatting) will also be joining Great Northern. He said: “I enjoyed going into a workplace that made me feel at home. It was great working at GTR, it really felt like I was part of the family.”
Reece Long, 20, from Stevenage (pictured behind Jack) has been offered a role at Potters Bar with Great Northern. He said: “This opportunity provided me with such a confidence boost, and talking with customers every day really helped with that.”
Danny Ryder from Sandy in Bedfordshire (pictured fifth from right, back) is also joining the Great Northern team.
On Thameslink, Wasik Merban from Bedford (pictured third from right)will be joining the station team at St Pancras, Henry Bell from Tring (second from left) will start at Blackfriars and Mohammed Abu Baker from Luton (first from left) will join the St Albans team.
Southern has hired Joshua Rickard from Streatham (fourth from right) to join the team at East Croydon; Kamal Kayam from Brixton (fourth from left, back) will join London Bridge, and Mohammed Salman Mahmud (third from left, back) from Poplar will also join the Southern customer-facing team.
Last week The Prince’s Trust and GTR graduates celebrated their success at an awards ceremony with friends and family, ahead of starting in their new customer service roles at stations across Thameslink, Great Northern and Southern.
Paula Hilliard, Engagement Manager at GTR, said: “This is the 13th event with the Prince’s Trust and we have a great success rate of bringing the young people that take part into the business; currently more than 80 per cent of course graduates secure roles with us.
“We also have 20 progression mentors who support the young people into the workplace.The programme is a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience across railway teams. I'm very proud of our partnership with the Trust and the success we are seeing as it continues to grow.”
All 12 participants received a certificate on Monday celebrating their completion on the course. Throughout the programme, they also gained help in preparing CVs and cover letters, and honed their interview skills, with the course having an important impact on their lives and their hopes for the future.
Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer of GTR, said: “This programme with the Prince's Trust offers a fantastic opportunity for us to up-skill these young people, get them on board, and show them what a rewarding career the railway can offer.
"It was very inspiring to hear that the programme has encouraged these resilient individuals to focus on bettering their futures with an increased amount of confidence, and within this target a career in the rail industry. I am delighted that we have 10 joining us as full-time employees following this latest course."
With a strong focus on customer service, the latest ‘Get Into Railways’ course sees these individuals graduate at a crucial time for GTR, with the operator undertaking an ambitious modernisation programme which will see new technology adopted, such smartcard ticketing, as well as the provision of more staff on board trains, as it moves to future-proof the Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink services.
The programme gives young people aged 16-25 vital learning and skills to help them find work in any industry, with a specific focus on the railway.
Adrian Thacker, Senior Head of National Partnerships at The Prince’s Trust said: “We really value our partnership with Govia Thameslink Railway. Efficient transport is increasingly important to the flourishing of our economy and this partnership gives young people the opportunity to start their career on the right track.
“The programmes we run together are proven to be a successful way of getting diverse groups of young people ready for employment in this sector and also of engaging the current Govia Thameslink Railway workforce with mentoring opportunities.”
The four-week London-based course, teaches candidates about aspects of the railway including first aid, security protocols, and customer service skills that are vital when working at stations. Half the teaching is in the classroom and the other half out on the route, working with staff to gain practical work experience.
Notes to editors
For more information email email@example.com or call
Southern and Gatwick Express press office: 0203 750 2030
Thameslink and Great Northern press office: 0203 750 2031
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – services between Bedford and Brighton, Luton/St Albans and Sutton, Wimbledon and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria
GTR is the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff: GTR carries about 326 million passenger journeys per year, and employs around 6,500 people. Its aim is to improve services across all four networks.
Southern has the highest passenger growth in the UK with numbers into London having doubled in 12 years - compared with the industry doubling over the past 20 years. To meet this growth and to future-proof the network, GTR is modernising the rail service for passengers.
GTR has introduced more new trains in the past year than all other franchises put together, with 500 new carriages so far.
The transformative £7.8bn Thameslink Programme will bring hundreds more daily services from 2018, increasing the number of trains though the central London core from up to 15 to 24 trains per hour. Network Rail has also launched a £300m programme to improve resilience across the GTR network
The Prince’s Trust
Youth charity The Prince’s Trust helps disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track. Founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1976, the charity has supported 13 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed and those struggling at school and at risk of exclusion for over 40 years.
Many of the young people helped by The Prince’s Trust are in or leaving care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or they have been in trouble with the law. The Trust’s programmes give vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilise their lives, helping develop self-esteem and skills for work. Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training.
Further information about The Prince’s Trust is available at princes-trust.org.uk or on 0800 842 842.