Greater Anglia looks to break down stereotypes and attract more women to apply for train driver roles

Published on: Tuesday, 14 November 2023
Last updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2023

Greater Anglia is working to break down the myths around the male-dominated train driver role, as it looks to attract more women into the job through a series of special events.

The train operator recently held a bespoke event at its training academy in Stratford. The event saw 25 women who currently work for the operator, in a variety of roles, learn about the tests and skills required to become a train driver.

Credit: Greater Anglia.

The ‘taster day’, which was held on November 10, allowed attendees to learn about what happens inside the cab and at the depot, while being given the opportunity to ask questions about the job to existing female train drivers.

Prospective drivers were also able to try their hand at ‘driving’ a train on the state-of-the-art full cab simulators.

Stadler simulator

The cab simulator of the Stadler train used on London-Norwich, Stansted Express and regional routes. Credit: Greater Anglia.

Katy Bucknell, HR Director at Greater Anglia, said:

“Historically, the role of the train driver has always been correlated with a male person – but you can be any gender to undertake that role and it is important that we break down that stereotype.

“Days like this give our female colleagues a chance to look at the recruitment and training process and we hope that it will increase our applications for female train drivers in the company.”

Greater Anglia operates trains from London Liverpool Street to destinations across the East of England. A quarter of its workforce is made up of women, but out of 805 mainline train drivers, only 8% are women.

Lottie Hart, a Greater Anglia Depot Driver at the Southend Victoria depot, said:

“It doesn’t matter what gender you are – on the railway, you do your training and if you are able to fulfil the role and concentrate, you are suitable.

“Everyone has been welcoming. There are so many avenues within Greater Anglia that you can go on and do regardless of who you are.

“I am very proud to be where I am. I have got daughters so when I said that I am going to go on and be an actual train driver, I feel like they are proud of me too.”

Credit: BBC Essex

Greater Anglia has a number of driver depots across its network at London Liverpool Street, Bishop’s Stortford, Cambridge, Ilford, Southend Victoria, Colchester, Clacton-on-Sea, Ipswich and Norwich.

The female driver information event is part of Greater Anglia’s diversity and inclusion strategy, which sees the company working year-round to make itself a better and more inclusive place to work.

All jobs available at Greater Anglia can be found on the website under the careers section on the ‘about us’ page.

The application process involves undertaking initial assessments at Greater Anglia’s Academy in Stratford, interviews and, if successful, you’ll then spend time in the classroom learning about all the rules and regulations, as well as the intimate detail needed about each train you’ll be driving.

Practical train driving lessons and learning the various routes that are driven then follow, under the guide of an experienced mentor, for around six months before a final assessment.

Credit: BBC Look East