Six individuals, aged between 16 and 24 from the south of England, have joined the rail operator as Customer Experience Ambassadors. The new starters, based at Brighton, Haywards Heath, Eastbourne, Worthing and Chichester stations, will be responsible for assisting customers and providing reassurance to those returning to rail for the first time since the pandemic.
In addition to Customer Experience Ambassadors, there is further opportunity for young people with the creation of two new Tourism & Event Research Assistant roles. The successful candidates will work with local organisations to find out key information about events and attractions and then feed this back to the wider business. This function will help Southern plan effectively during the all-important summer months where leisure travel will increase.
Last year, Southern partnered with East Sussex College for its first ever Sector-based Work Academy Programme and the two organisations are working together once more to enable those on the placements the opportunity to work towards a Level 2 qualification in Travel and Tourism. This qualification will help the individuals gain a wider perspective on the travel sector along with increasing their options and prospects for future job opportunities.
Angie Doll, Managing Director for Southern, said: “Our employability initiatives are key to delivering a more diverse and inclusive organisation, something we’re very passionate about. We’re proud to be part of the government’s Kickstart Scheme, supporting young people to learn essential skills that will boost their chances of long-term employment.
“We want to help our local economies thrive and with the leisure sector opening up for summer, these placements will be vital in boosting tourism in and around Sussex. Government schemes such as Kickstart have helped us to reach talent across our communities and support those who may have otherwise struggled to gain skills and experience in the current economic climate.”
Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “Southern Rail has used a mixture of our Plan for Jobs schemes to bring in new talent, and it’s great to see more young people begin their Kickstart journey – helping them get on track and develop the new skills and confidence to thrive in work.
“In Sussex and right across the country, our Plan for Jobs is creating opportunity and supporting people of all ages into work and training as we push to build back better– including in the rail sector.”
Whilst the current placements are based in Sussex, Southern’s parent company, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), has also used the Kickstart Scheme to support with rail projects elsewhere on the network. In April this year, more young people were taken on by the company in customer service roles to support in delivering the huge £1.2billion East Coast Upgrade. These individuals are now owning their own projects and continuing to get under the skin of the rail industry.