Avanti West Coast employees have given young people a unique insight into their roles as part of a pilot virtual work experience programme by Network Rail.
Using a specially created video, the Station Manager and Customer Service Assistants based at Warrington Bank Quay talked to students from UTC Warrington about the different jobs available at Avanti West Coast, for the trial of Network Rail’s work experience initiative ‘Ready 4 Rail’.
Developed by Network Rail, the virtual programme is designed to provide a viable alternative to traditional work experience, which has been cancelled due to the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as preparing young people for future career and academic choices.
Bringing together different organisations, the scheme aims to showcase opportunities across the rail industry virtually – through videos, presentations, and engagement activities with video conferencing.
Avanti West Coast, which connects Warrington to Scotland and London with its services, was invited to give students an understanding into the role of a train operator with a dedicated session.
During the forum, the inter-city operator shared stories from its staff about how they came to work in the rail industry – from deciding on a career change, to a new-found interest following work experience – and how they engage with local communities and strive to deliver the best possible customer experience.
Amanda Downing, Associate Principal of UTC Warrington, said: “Connecting our students with engineering, digital, construction and healthcare employers, so they are on the right track for exciting, future careers opportunities, is at the heart of everything we do. I’d like to thank Avanti West Coast for their support.”
The team at Warrington Bank Quay were joined by colleagues from office-based roles, who gave a glimpse into their work across the route and involvement with the station.
Following the video, students had the opportunity to put forward questions to Avanti West Coast representatives as part of a Q&A session.
Gareth Williams, Head of Sustainability at Avanti West Coast, said: “We want to connect young people to opportunity, so we’re proud to have played our part in Network Rail’s trial of its Ready 4 Rail programme – ensuring young people don’t miss out on gaining an insight into the opportunities available within the industry. It has been great to showcase what Avanti West Coast is about and we hope our session will help to attract new and emerging talent in the communities we serve.”
Lee Braham, Avanti West Coast Station Manager at Warrington Bank Quay, said: “Helping others is a rewarding experience and by supporting this programme we hope to make a difference in our local community and inspire the next generation of potential railway workers. I hope our short video will go a long way in helping students who want to know more about starting a career on the railway.”
James Richards, Engineering Capability Manager at Network Rail, said: “We know how important work experience is to help prepare students for the career and academic choices, which is why we’ve worked with industry partners to develop a virtual approach to work experience with our ‘Ready 4 Rail’ programme. Trialling this new approach has enabled us to bring to life the wider opportunities in the rail industry – highlighting the many partners involved in the railway and the vital work they deliver. I hope that Ready 4 Rail will have inspired the students to explore the industry as a potential employer and that they had fun, developed their skills and feel well-equipped to make choices for their future.”
About Avanti West Coast
Avanti West Coast, operator of intercity rail services on the West Coast Main Line, is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, delivering a cleaner, greener railway that drives the West Coast forward.
We’re on a mission to revolutionise train travel, linking together the towns and major cities of the UK to create an iconic railway the country can be proud of. We’ve got big plans including a fleet of new intercity trains, as well as the complete refurbishment of the existing Pendolino train fleet. We will introduce more train services every week with new routes added, and a much-improved onboard service with enhanced free Wi-Fi, plug sockets, 25,000 brand new seats and improved catering. Since 8 December, passengers have benefitted from improved passenger compensation, available for journeys delayed by just 15 minutes.
For the latest news, visit the Avanti West Coast Media Room: https://newsdesk.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/