ASLEF and Crossrail on track to support apprentice train drivers

ASLEF joined MTR Crossrail at an event with rail industry partners to celebrate a big milestone on Wednesday, February 7, with its 200th trainee joining the Train Driver Apprenticeship Programme.

Shirley Handsley and Nigel Gibson from ASLEF with
MTR Crossrail Managing Director Steve Murphy (centre)
signing the ASLEF Charter for Apprenticeships

The event saw MTR Crossrail sign ASLEF’s Charter for Apprentices. This commitment to futureproof training and development in the industry means that MTR Crossrail has become the first train operator in the country to officially sign ASLEF’s Charter - which aims to support high quality schemes across the industry.

The 18-month apprenticeship, which was introduced by MTR Crossrail in February 2016, runs alongside the Train Operating Company’s normal Train Driver Programme and offers additional skills and a qualification to those who opt in.

The programme has been delivered through a partnership with training provider, Train’d Up, who provide assessors, functional skills tutors and undertake quality assurance to ensure the programme delivers candidates who are taught to a high industry standard. MTR Crossrail has led the way in the rail industry as the first train operating company included on the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) and approved to deliver apprenticeship training to employees through the ‘employer provider’ route.

Those at the special event not only recognised the 200th driver to join the industry-leading initiative but also celebrated with a group of the first candidates to receive their qualifications following completion of the apprenticeship.

Partnership has been key to achieving this level of success through close working with Train’d Up, Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, who have offered great support through a dedicated union learning representative.

ASLEF District Organiser, Nigel Gibson, applauded MTR Crossrail’s commitment to learning and working collaboratively with its partners.

Nigel said:

We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with MTR Crossrail in delivering Driver Apprenticeships and we believe that the ASLEF Charter for Apprentices provides a platform from which all train operators can take forward.”

The fact that MTR Crossrail is the first in the industry to sign up to this charter is indication that working collaboratively can have positive benefits and deliver for our members and company employees alike.”

The first group of MTR Crossrail Driver Apprentices receive their qualifications.

MTR Crossrail Managing Director, Steve Murphy, was pleased to see so many people supporting such an important milestone and reiterated the key partnerships within the industry.

In a project where there are so many exciting developments, it’s really important to recognise the fantastic achievements of our people and the training and development that goes into successfully running a railway. The Trainee Train Driver Apprenticeship has been a great success and celebrating the 200th driver today is special. There really are so many talented individuals joining the railway for the future.

The support of our friends at Train’d Up, ESFA and ASLEF has been fantastic and much appreciated and we look forward to continuing our relationships moving forward.”

Howard Smith, Transport for London’s Operations Director for the Elizabeth line, said:

Staff will be at the heart of delivering the Elizabeth line, the new railway for London and the South East, and it’s so encouraging to see 200 drivers join this innovative MTR apprenticeship. When the Elizabeth line opens through central London in December we’ll have a strong team of skilled drivers and this programme helps ensure we will have a diverse pool of talent ready to drive our customers and deliver a great service."

Both MTR Crossrail and ASLEF are part of the Transport Services Working Group working to develop a Level 3 Train Driver Apprenticeship.

Unions