Paige Lunn, one of the new GTR female drivers

GTR doubles the number of female train driver applicants

The UK’s biggest rail operator, Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs the Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express services, has successfully managed, following numerous campaigns, doubled their number of female train driver applicants.

In 2019 GTR received 413 female applicants, to 826 in 2020. This is a great statistic to see following years of the rail industry struggling to attract female talent.

GTR has commited to doubling this number again by 2021. Further pledges include improving diversity in teams across its entire talent pool, with the company setting itself the target of having a 50/50 gender split on all training programmes by the end of 2021.

To safeguard this ethos across the operator, GTR has introduced ‘Unconscious Bias’ training, dedicated to making the organisation a more diverse and inclusive place to work.

Ian McLaren, Chief Financial Officer FO at GTR said: “As the executive sponsor of our Unconscious Bias training programme, it is my responsibility to ensure GTR is the diverse and welcoming business that we strive for it to be. We all have biases; it’s how our brains process and categorise the world.

“But by making ourselves aware of our tendencies to favour people most like us in appearance, background, or world view, we can begin to overcome those biases to create a more agile and innovative blend of ideas and experiences at GTR.”

Paige Lunn, Lise Gibbs and Beau Hawkins are all newly qualified train drivers, working across the GTR network. They applied for the role at different ages and all comes from completely different backgrounds.

Paige said: “I was in my mid-twenties when I applied to be a driver. It’s something you can go into at any point in your life and I’d recommend it to anyone, it’s a fantastic industry to be a part of.”

GTR’s Head of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion, Zoey Hudson said: “We’re very aware at GTR that to get the best from our staff and be best able to serve our passengers, a diverse and highly skilled workforce is absolutely vital. For this reason, we’ve invested heavily in a recruitment campaign packed full of programmes and initiatives, such as working with Mumsnet.

“Our campaigns are aimed at debunking the stereotypes associated with careers in the rail industry and humanising our brands while demonstrating the huge versatility of roles available. All with the intention of attracting a more diverse workforce to the industry.

“We’re truly delighted to have been able to double the number of female train driver applicants in a single year, and we look forward to continuing to be the driving force behind the rail industry’s mission to recruit more women and have a more diverse pool of talent.”

Image: Paige Lunn (Credit GTR) 

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