Northern train driver, via Northern

Northern to bolster its driver and conductor workforce in 2023

Northern is looking to plug the train driver and conductor gaps within its workforce through a recruitment process in 2023, with the hopes of bringing in 280 fresh faces.

This recruitment comes as part of a natural workforce replenishment to replace team member who have retired, earned promotions or who have naturally moved on from the organisation. Where operators like Avanti West Coast are currently struggling to tackle driver backlogs held up with pandemic restrictions, it is vital for Northern to stay on top of their workforce numbers to maintain their 2,500 daily services across over 500 stations throughout the UK.

These roles include full training at the operator’s academies in Leeds and Manchester, meaning no prior rail experience is required to be considered for either position.

The driver roles are based in Carlisle, Darlington, Hull, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, Skipton and York.

The conductor roles are based in Carlisle, Doncaster, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Sheffield, Skipton and York.

Tricia Williams, chief operating officer at Northern, said:

“These are fantastic roles for anyone passionate about helping connect people and places across the region.

“We’ll be recruiting throughout the year – so people should register for job alerts on our website.”

From such a high intake of new recruits, Northern is looking to tackle the overall gender imbalances within its workforce, championing female involvement throughout the application process. Coupling this with the ambition to attract candidates from under-represented ethnicities, Northern is trying to ensure that its workforce accurately reflects the many communities in which it serves.

Williams touched on this, saying:

 “The rail industry has made great strides in many areas of diversity in recent years – but there is still much to be done.

“Drivers and conductors represent a huge proportion of our workforce – if we can attract more people from a wider range of ethnicities and women into these roles, that’ll make a real difference.”

Further widening the scope of Northern’s recruitment net, the operator has shown the desire to recruit top tier candidates from other sectors who have not considered a career within rail. This can be transformative as it brings new perspectives and working practises into, what is often considered to be, an old and stagnant sector.

Citing some of the interesting career histories of its 2021/22 intake, Williams said: “Some of the people at the control of our trains today started their career in the prison service, as cabin crew, as social care workers, in a veterinary practice and at least one as a wedding planner! No-one should think either of these roles ‘isn’t for them’ – the railway has much to offer.”

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