ScotRail has recruited 11 young people for Modern Apprenticeships in Customer Service – the first of their kind in the rail industry.
The 18-month programme will equip the apprentices with a range of skills and will also enable them to achieve a Customer Service level 2 SVQ – and a Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.
The recruits, aged 17 – 21, began their apprenticeship in three key customer service roles – ticket examiner, station staff and hospitality last week.
And they received a special welcome to the initiative from Angela Constance, the Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, at ScotRail’s training academy in Glasgow.
Ms Constance, MSP for Livingston, said she was delighted that ScotRail recognises the important skills that the programme promotes.
She added: “I welcome ScotRail’s investment in apprenticeships in customer service.
“In the current economic climate budgets are under pressure everywhere, but ScotRail’s ongoing investment in learning and development will pay real dividends by helping its employees develop and reach their full potential.
“This scheme is a great example of the responsive, flexible, relevant skills and training support we are committed to helping throughout Scotland.”
The apprentices were equally enthusiastic about the challenges ahead in roles which are based in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee or Perth.
Graeme Cormack, 18, of Linlithgow, who previously worked part-time at a local restaurant, said: “The apprenticeship is a great way to start a career at a company like ScotRail. And it also allows me to go for the various parts of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.”
Naomi Milligan, also 18, of Hamilton, did voluntary work with the NHS before applying for the modern apprenticeship. She said: “It sounded very attractive – with hands on learning and on the job training. The company’s reputation was also a factor. I’m also looking forward to working with the public and experiencing different roles within the railway.”
Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail, said: “Nurturing young talent is an excellent way of creating a highly skilled and loyal workforce.
“The young recruits will face many challenges and in return will receive first rate training and mentoring to develop their confidence and equip them with the skills to forge a successful career.”
DofE Scotland director Barry Fisher said: “We are delighted that ScotRail will be using the award as a key component of its apprentice programme.
“ScotRail is a supporter of the DofE and this demonstrates its tremendous commitment to our charity. We look forward to the first Gold Award holders from ScotRail in the near future.”