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200 new train drivers wanted in Wales

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KeolisAmey, the train operator for Wales and the Borders, is on the lookout for 200 new train drivers.

No previous experience is required, as successful candidates will receive comprehensive training for 13 months before qualifying as train drivers.

These new drivers will help deliver increased services and capacity across the Wales and Borders rail franchise, which Keolis UK operates in a joint venture with Amey under a 15-year contract with Transport for Wales from 2018.

The 200 opportunities, being advertised through recruitment company Acorn, have already attracted significant interest – with more than 10,000 people having responded in just a few days.

Although there are vacancies open across Wales, the emphasis is on attracting candidates from the South Wales Valleys to work on the area’s new Metro network. The starting salary for the trainee drivers will be £28,000, rising to around £52,000 once fully qualified.

Alistair Gordon, Keolis UK.

Alistair Gordon, chief executive of Keolis UK, commented: “This is 200 additional drivers to help us be able to run the new timetables.

“It takes about two years to train a train driver so we are now starting the recruitment so we can do the batches ready for new timetables and new trains.”

Keolis’ driver training programme looks at three key elements, with the first seeing successful recruits learning about railway safety. “They will then do purely route knowledge, so making sure they know the route they are going to run on and things like where they turn a corner and where there are signals,” Alistair Gordon continued. “They then do traction, which is learning about the train.

“So, it is not until a year into their training that they are assigned to a specific area. Often, we assign them to a depot to start, as we don’t want people in Wrexham, say, working in Canton [Cardiff]. If they are in a depot, they know the types of trains they are going to be driving.”

Adding that he hoped that more women and those from more ethnic backgrounds will be appointed, he added: “We do know that a lot of the drivers are male and are always looking to encourage more balance. It’s a very attractive career and, through offering things like flexible hours and basing roles right across the country, we hope to attract applications from a wider cross section of society.”

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