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Change track: Northern urges Generation X to consider apprentice opportunities in the rail industry

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The UK’s second-largest train operator, Northern, has used National Apprenticeship Week (7-13 Feb) to urge Generation X – those born between 1965 and 1980 – to consider applying to its industry-leading apprenticeship scheme.

With roles including train drivers and conductors requiring no previous practical experience, they are a great opportunity for people of any age looking to try something completely new.

Northern is the largest provider of apprentice opportunities in the rail industry, with almost 600 apprentices employed across the organisation in roles such as conductors, drivers, engineering and business administration.

Apprentice recruitment is on-going throughout the year, with vacancies currently up for grabs in engineering, business administration, control and rostering teams.

One of the latest apprentices to formally complete their training with Northern is Katy Bailey, 53, from Leeds. A mother of four and former mental health worker, she is now a fully qualified conductor based at Leeds station and says she loves her job and only wishes she’d found the railway earlier in her life. “Learning on the job from people with years of experience has really worked for me, and as an older apprentice I bring valuable skills from my previous jobs to this new career” she said. 

Tricia Williams, chief operating officer at Northern, said: “The days when being an apprentice meant you were someone just out of school or college are long gone. But that perception remains and it can be a barrier to more experience people who might otherwise be interested in those roles.

“Of course, anyone of any age is eligible to apply, but our message this National Apprenticeship Week is that those people who have already enjoyed a career doing something completely different shouldn’t dismiss these schemes as ‘not for them’.

“All manner of previous career experiences have transferable skills that the rail industry can benefit from. It’s a very exciting sector to work in and starting as an apprentice is a great way to get your foot in the door.”

Northern is hosting a number of online recruitment events for its apprenticeship scheme over the coming weeks, details for which can be found here: www.northernrailway.co.uk/careers

Photo credit: Northern