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Our People

Our people are vital to the success of GTR, everyone has an important role to play in delivering a great service to our customers. Here are some of their stories:

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Alexandra

Trainee Train Driver

Coming from a completely different industry, I decided to apply for the Trainee Train Driver because I knew someone that was a driver for another train operating company and saw what a great job it could be for me. There were rumours of redundancy in my previous job, so I started looking for something new. I timed it well, as Southern had just released vacancies online.

The Trainee Train Driver role is a huge responsibility. With that responsibility comes job satisfaction as you are providing an important public service. My focus is getting people from A to B safely and I hope to have a positive impact on peoples’ journeys. My job satisfaction comes from doing my job as best I can and providing a valuable service. I also really enjoy not having to take it home with me and having good work/life balance.

I enjoy working in rail, it’s like a big family. As a woman in a predominantly male environment I’ve found Southern to be welcoming and supportive. I was aware of Southern’s tough few years prior to me joining. I underestimated how much goes on behind the scenes and I’m really proud to be a part of a company that puts its customers first.

I’d like to see more women join the Railway, because it’s an industry for everyone, train driving is for anyone that is committed enough to the job. It’s a great job! There are obviously the perks of a good pension and stability but it’s also a rewarding job. Knowing you’ve got thousands of commuters to work on time is satisfying. It’s always nice when someone says thank you.

— Alexandra
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Azeem

Customer Experience Team Leader

Having worked in the hospitality industry for 7 years before joining GTR, I was always fascinated by how the rail industry operated. It wasn't until when the London Bridge redevelopment work started as part of the Thameslink Programme, my interest in the railway grew which prompted me to search for a new career. I've never looked back since.

The Customer Experience Team Leader role provides customers with detailed and concise information when their journey is disrupted, so they're enabled to make the right travel choices tailored to their journey. As well as updating our websites and apps, I'll work with my colleagues to ensure instant updates are available using various other channels useful to our customers. I must be ready to take charge and gather as much information as I can about a problem, keeping the customer at the heart of every decision I make.

What I really enjoy about the role is doing everything I can to guarantee a positive experience for our customers from start to finish, letting them know that we're doing everything we can to put things right when the unexpected happens.

GTR really cares for their employees and they recognise the potential in all of us who work here, listening to our feedback and doing what's best for both employees and customers. We also receive great perks (including a gym on the ground floor in the Control Centre!)

You should consider working within Control If you're passionate about wanting better for our customers, able to work under pressure, and want to contribute towards building a high performing organisation.

— Azeem
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Oliver

Trainee Train Planner

I was previously in a customer service role and was looking for a change. I always had an interest in the railways, so I applied for the Trainee Train Planner role. I never assumed I would be seriously considered due to not having worked in the industry before, but this turned out not to be the case, and I was offered the role and taught all the required skills I would need.

As a Trainee, you will be taught all the basic skills required to prepare you for all possibilities. You will quickly gain an understanding of the ways of working within the rail industry, and how it impacts Train Planning. Once you have gained a good understanding of the basics, you will be placed on a team with a vacancy that is deemed most suitable for your strengths. In my case, this was the Southern & Gatwick Express amended Timings & Rolling Stock team. There I learned more in-depth skills to do this specific task, which involved a lot of one to one training. I was quickly able to get involved for real due to the fast training process and was signed off as a full Train Planner earlier this year.

Train Planning has a huge impact on our customers. My favourite part of the role is planning for a demanding weekend with complex engineering works and then seeing it all go to plan on the day for our customers. It gives you a huge amount of job satisfaction!

GTR is a good company to work for from my personal experience. The train planning office is a very fun and friendly place to work, with many interesting and hardworking people.

— Oliver
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Emmanuel

Safety Specialist, Thameslink

I never thought that I would ever work in the rail industry or stay in the same industry as long as I have. I came from Nigeria into the UK in 2011, to study for a master’s degree in Human Resource Management. I have spent 6 years now in the railway and still counting!

In the summer of 2012, after completing my master’s degree, I was jobless, and searching for a role in HR, which was incredibly difficult with no work experience in the UK. A friend who worked part-time as a train presentation member in Luton spoke highly of the rail industry, as a reliable and friendly environment and that the perks she received for herself and her family were really attractive! She encouraged me to apply for a part-time role as a Customer Service Assistant and Train Dispatcher. Due to the disappointment from other applications, I reluctantly applied. I was shocked and excited at the same time when I got an email and letter inviting me for my assessment and interview, both of which I passed and was offered the role.

Two years after, I was offered 6-month secondment role as a Recruitment Administrator in the HR department. After my secondment, I moved on to a new role in commercial training as a Vocational Learning Specialist where I got involved in training various courses for our frontline employees, as well as running safety training for Managers. Presently, I work in the Safety Department as a Safety Risk Specialist, GN & TL based at Kings Cross.

My role as a Safety Risk Specialist (stations) looks closely at ensuring the safety our customers and staff whilst at the station and on the train. Not only do I to assess risk at stations, but I also suggest recommendations for improved safety and infrastructure.

GTR has an amazing record for personal development, you can choose to pick up knowledge from any department if you’re willing to learn and progress.

— Emmanuel
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Nathaniel

Trainee Station Manager

I couldn’t pinpoint where my interest in rail came from, but I have always wanted to work in this industry. Throughout my education, the end goal has always been to work in Rail. I participated in work experience with GTR in 2017 and 2018 and have just joined GTR in a Station Management Trainee placement.

GTR’s work experience is handled very professionally and applying for it is done the same way as applying for a paid role. The dedication of staff to enriching the younger generations with their knowledge is admirable and I’ve stayed in contact with several staff I met working on the program. You’re not restricted, even though you’re on work experience, there was no tea making. I spent my time touring depots and stations, speaking with passengers and staff and gaining insight into the recruitment and training processes for different roles.

My favourite part was working with the stations team, I enjoy the busyness and the buzz of a commuter hub, my main interest has always been customer focused and I enjoyed the satisfaction of being able to assist customers using prior knowledge and local information.

I studied Transport Management at Loughborough for my degree. Work experience really gave me a grounding and cemented my passion for the station environment. When the opportunity to join GTR as a Station Manager with full training arose it was the dream come true. I’ve always seen GTR as a diverse and forward-thinking company. I felt welcome from the get go and witnessed the passion the staff had for the job and the care they showed for each other. I knew that is the kind of organisation I want to be a part of.

If you’ve always had an interest in rail, or maybe you’re just curious to find out what working in the railway might look like, GTR is the operator to go for. Not many companies do an official work experience program and this unique opportunity will give you a good grounding with varied activities to help you find the best place in the railway for you. It certainly did it for me.

— Nathaniel
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Nadia

Area Station Manager, Thameslink Core

I saw the role for a Station Manager advertised in 2011. I knew nothing about trains, or even much about the network, however when I looked at the role profile realised I had several transferable skills which were being sought after including: customer service, communication, management, negotiation, and interpersonal skills.

When I came in for my Assessment Centre, I was the only female, surrounded by middle aged white males and seriously didn't think I stood a chance! I made it to interview and was successfully appointed as a second manager at St Pancras in August 2011. This year I was promoted to Area Station Manager, Thameslink Core.

The Station Manager role is a busy one. A lot of time is spent looking after the needs of our customers and how we can deliver a better service to them, but also looking after our teams through sufficient training, improvements in processes, and ensuring we are consistently performing at our best. Behind the scenes we are ensuring our stations are safe and well maintained, that our staff are equipped with all the tools and equipment to undertake their roles effectively, and that we lead our people to perform at their best.

What I love about the role is the people, I always learn a lot from my staff. I also enjoy the variety; no two days are the same!

Working for Thameslink is exciting. In this role I have seen the transformation of London Bridge, the new class 700 trains, level platform access at core stations and we are working towards the successful implementation of 24 trains per hour through the core; no matter what your role everyone has a part to play in its successful implementation.

If you enjoy engaging with people and developing them to perform at their best then you should consider a management role within GTR.

— Nadia
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Maggie

Design & Content Apprentice

After spending what seems like most of my living memory on or around trains, I decided I wanted to take my career a step forward and apply to a role in the railways that I was passionate about. After checking the GTR Careers page for a few months, this Apprenticeship role came up and I applied straight away as it sounded like the perfect job as I knew I wanted to get more into Design as a profession.

My role has many different elements to it! Some days, I can be travelling all around the network taking photos for departments, other days I can be in the office creating leaflets and posters for customer information campaigns or assets for internal communications. I recently got to design our #trainbow to celebrate Brighton Pride for our LGBT+ Network which I really enjoyed.

I think my favourite part of the role is the people that I work with, both in my immediate team and further afield. Due to the breadth of work that is briefed to us, I get to talk to and meet so many people from across the business. It means that I can get a real understanding of what other people do, which in turn helps enhance the quality of work I produce.

Working for GTR is very rewarding and fulfilling. You really feel like you're making a difference to customers, no matter what role you're in as at the end of the day they're the heart of our business. I’ve had lots of opportunities to explore other aspects of the business including supporting our station staff and gaining my Train Dispatch Licence which has been enriching for my experience here.

I think an apprentice role is a perfect bridge between leaving school & the world of work, or even if you'd like to try something completely new and change your path! You get to earn while you learn and get a qualification to show at the end of it.

— Maggie