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• Joint pilot scheme with North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership, endorsed by the Institution of Rail Operators
• Supported by Alsager Job Club and Staffordshire County Council
• First initiative of its kind in the country
An exciting new work experience pilot scheme has been launched today by East Midlands Trains as Amelia Humphries (24) and Mitchell Grant (20) embark on a four-week work experience trial with members of the Derby station team.
The new ‘Train into Work’ work experience programme has been developed in partnership with North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership (NSCRP) and the Institution of Railway Operators (IRO), with support from Alsager Job Club and the Moorland Learning Disabilities Team at Staffordshire County Council. The initiative aims to aid local regeneration on the North Staffordshire Line (Crewe-Stoke-Derby) by providing long-term unemployed and young people with 20 days work experience in customer service with East Midlands Trains.
Amelia and Mitchell are the first two people to go through the scheme, which will include working at Derby station, at local stations on the North Staffordshire Line and on East Midlands Trains services from Derby.
Amelia, from Alsager, has been out of work for 12 months and has been attending the Alsager Job Club, a voluntary organisation designed to help local people find work. The initial idea for the new ‘Train into Work’ programme came about through a meeting between NSCRP and the Alsager Job Club. Amelia will be working at Derby station to gain experience in customer-facing roles, including in the ticket office, at the ticket gates, on the platforms and on train.
Speaking at Derby station today, Amelia said: "I have been excitedly counting down to today and hope this opportunity will help me on my way to my destination of a full time job."
Mitchell is from Newcastle-under- Lyme and his passion for trains has already seen him sign up to become a volunteer at Kidsgrove station in his spare time. Mitchell, who currently attends Strathmore College in Stoke-on-Trent, will be joining the Station Service Team for the North Staffordshire Route and volunteers at other stations to keep the stations looking spick and span. He will also spend two weeks working at Derby station. Mitchell is supported by the Moorlands Learning Disabilities Team at Staffordshire County Council.
Mitchell also added: "I am looking forward to being part of East Midlands Trains and getting on the right track to a new job!"
As well as the hands-on work experience which will give Amelia and Mitchell great insight into how a customer-service focused business works, there will also be a programme of ongoing support including help with interviews, writing CVs and practical support in helping the two young people to find future employment.
The joint project between East Midlands Trains and the NSCRP is unique for community rail and if successful, will be rolled out to other routes on the East Midlands Trains network. The IRO will be endorsing the project and have supported it by developing the Train into Work trainee workbook to help the two placement students learn and develop during their work experience.
Faye Lambert, Project Manager for North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership said: "Train into Work is the first of its kind in community rail that will give exceptional and determined young people like Amelia and Mitchell focused learning through work experience to help them into employment. Thanks to the support of project partners East Midlands Trains and the Institution of Railway Operators, we hope they will be the first of many more to benefit from this project."
Janice Mills from Alsager Job Club said: “I would like to thank East Midlands Trains and the NSCRP for developing the innovative Train into Work project. At Alsager Job Club we recognise the importance that work experience plays in enabling unemployed people to move further along the journey towards employment and we are also aware that transport to and from Alsager can often be a barrier. We are delighted, therefore, that Train into Work addresses both these challenges directly by providing both work experience and the transport!”
Jason Cocker, Area Station Manager for East Midlands Trains, added: “This is a really exciting initiative and one that I personally am very pleased that we are able to support. We are very focused on our local communities and the new Train into Work initiative is a great example of us looking for different ways to support our communities. None of this would have been possible without the support of the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership and the IRO and on behalf of East Midlands Trains, I would like to extend a big thank you to everybody involved in driving forward this fantastic new initiative.
“We are looking forward to welcoming Amelia and Mitchell to the Derby team and are certain they will really enjoy their time with us and it will be invaluable in helping them to find a new opportunity.”
Steve Ball, Learning Projects Manager for the Institution of Railway Operators, said: ‘’The Institution of Railway Operators (IRO) is pleased to be involved in conjunction with both North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership and East Midlands Trains, collectively delivering the valuable ‘Train into work’ pilot scheme.
“The Institution of Railway Operators has supported the initiative by providing a structured learning framework and workbook that compliments perfectly the practical training to be delivered by East Midlands Trains to the trainee candidates. We wish the candidates the very best of luck on their first step of the ladder to a career in rail.”