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image credit: Govia Thameslink Railway: Getting on: Ramla Abshir-Slevin is an Apprentice Station Manager

As National Apprenticeship & Careers Week (3-7 February) kicks off, Govia Thameslink Railway announces it is doubling the number of apprenticeships it will offer in 2020.

After beating its target of 140 apprentices in 2019, the rail operator is set to provide over 300 apprenticeships across 14 different roles ranging from drivers, engineers and operations to business administration and marketing. Open to people of all ages and backgrounds, including current GTR employees, the schemes reflect the true diversity of opportunities and possibilities that a career in rail can offer.

GTR’s increased focus on apprentices follows the operator’s accreditation by the Education Skills Funding Agency as a training provider for apprenticeships. This means GTR can provide more training in-house, with a clearer focus on the skills needed for careers in rail.

GTR’s increased commitment to apprenticeships will help to bridge the looming skills gap in the rail industry, offering education and opportunities, following warnings from The National Skills Academy for Rail of a considerable technical skills shortage in the sector.

The apprenticeships will be based across the GTR network, from Brighton in the south to King’s Lynn in the north, with drivers located at main depots including Selhurst and Hornsey. Business and head office apprenticeships will be based across sites in London, as well as Three Bridges in Crawley, West Sussex and Bedford.

Zoey Hudson, Head of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion at Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “The demand for skilled staff in the rail industry has never been higher. I am so pleased that we are creating more new apprenticeship opportunities than ever before. We are developing the skills of those who are already working in rail but also giving life-changing career opportunities to people from all backgrounds. This is all part of diversifying our recruitment approach to give more people better access to jobs and a career in rail.”

Anyone considering applying for an apprenticeship or role with GTR should go to: http://bit.ly/2QDrtZT

The target increase also follows a report from the rail operator and The Prince’s Trust which warns that industries across the UK face a future skills gap. Read full report here: http://bit.ly/2tCwnh5

Case Study
Ramla Abshir-Slevin, 32, is an Apprentice Station Manager based at East Croydon. Former Dental Nurse Ramla came to London in 2008 from Switzerland and at the time didn’t speak much English.

She started off by cleaning trains at Victoria before joining Southern. Ramla worked in a variety of roles from being on the gate-line in South Croydon to platform staff at Balham. In 2013, she had her daughter and in 2014 she took a full-time role in the ticket office at Victoria.

Ambitious Ramla was keen to learn and was trained to submit the accounts. She then requested to shadow the Team Leader and soon became a back-up Team Leader, a role she loved. In 2016, while pregnant with her second child, she covered the Team Leader position up until two weeks before her due date.

Following maternity leave, Ramla was determined to become a leader and was eventually successful. She said: “In January this year, a position for an Apprentice Station Manager came up and I instantly knew I wanted the job. I applied and fortunately got it. For me, my greatest achievement in the railway has been to get where I am now. Not only do I get to do what I love, but I will be rewarded with a qualification at the end of this.”

Video: Ramla says her apprenticeship has been “life-changing” http://bit.ly/36ICgqB

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services.