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Virgin Trains apprentice driver to be based at Preston

Posted on - 16th November, 2017 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, News, People, Preston City Centre, Transport
Simon in the cab of a Virgin Train
Simon in the cab of a Virgin Train

He’s beaten more than 400 people to the job to be one of Virgin Train’s new drivers.

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Simon Tyrer, 29, was selected to be one of three apparentice trainer drivers across the UK.

He’ll be based out of Preston Station and got his love of trains after working in a phone shop near the station.

Simon had to complete a 16-stage selection process to land the role alongside fellow apprentices Samantha and Joe.

During the next three years he will be trained up to become a fully-qualified train driver.

Read more: Watch as Preston to Blackpool railway line closure begins

He said: “I’m having a great time as a driver apprentice at Virgin Trains and it’s such a transformation from my previous job – every day is different. The apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity to learn about all areas of the rail industry, whilst gaining experience in the cab. The support from our mentor drivers has been brilliant – I’ve been able to draw from their knowledge and experience to help me prepare my journey to become a driver.

“I’m proud to be part of the next generation of drivers at Virgin Trains on the west coast and cannot wait to be driving the iconic Pendolino trains.”

Joe, Samantha and Simon are the apprentice recruits for Virgin Trains
Joe, Samantha and Simon are the apprentice recruits for Virgin Trains

Virgin has begun a push to recruit new train drivers as more than a third of its current West Coast mainline drivers reach retirement age in the next two years.

Read more: Bar at Preston Railway Station to change its name

Executive director for human resource at Virgin Trains on the west coast Patrick McGrath said: “We are delighted to have launched the first ever driver apprenticeship scheme alongside ASLEF. At Virgin Trains we believe in giving our people the tools to innovate and it’s great to see that one of our former apprentices has used his skills to truly shake-up the industry.

“It’s clear that the appetite for high quality training in the rail industry is still there and we look forward to inviting the next generation of train drivers to come join us at Virgin Trains.”

The apprentices start on a salary of £15,000, a full-time West Coast mainline train driver has the potential to earn £63,000-a-year.

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