Arriva Trains Wales has launched the UK’s first community rail apprenticeship scheme.
Ex-engineering apprentice Danielle Hopkins, 23, is the first to join the 18-month programme. She will work to strengthen links between the train operator and communities in the Valleys as well as to boost tourism.
Through research and working with local groups, such as ramblers, Danielle hopes to promote the scenic walking routes that are close to Arriva’s stations.
Supported by community rail officers from across Britain, her work will be focused on the areas between Pontypridd and the surrounding valleys of Rhondda, Cynon, Taff, Rhymney and Merthyr.
Danielle said that, as the country’s first community rail apprentice, she wants to “set the bar high”.
Tom Joyner, Arriva Trains Wales’ managing director, added that the role has the potential to create even stronger links between railways and communities in the Valleys.
He said: “Encouraging people to travel up in to the Valleys through marketing and promotion will help support local businesses and provide better opportunities to access jobs.
“It is more important than ever the voices of communities are heard in how transport services are delivered, and Danielle will be a passionate advocate for her communities within Arriva Trains Wales and with our partners.”
ACoRP senior operations manager Brian Barnsley added: “We are keen to see community rail further expand, diversify and develop, especially engaging younger age groups.
“This growing, and increasingly influential, grassroots movement, plays a vital role in helping people to access sustainable travel and enabling communities to get the most from their local railways.”