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Two Stagecoach employees were named as winners in the National Rail Awards 2015 last night (17 September).
Sheffield-based East Midlands Trains Travel Advisor, Sharon Angel, won the award for her innovative programme of schools education visits, designed by herself in her own time. Last year, Sharon produced a whole programme of school visits focused around the railway and staying safe on it.
To date, Sharon has educated more than 200 children though her programme. The children visit Sheffield station, where they are given a guided tour to help them understand the importance of each and every role required to keep a station and trains running. Sharon, with the help of her 8-year son, created and designed all the booklets herself, including a perfectly-pitched Paddington Bear book for younger children, with an emphasis on safety advice about the dangers of the railway. The programme is now being rolled out across all large stations on the whole East Midlands Trains’ network.
The judges said they were genuinely moved by meeting Sharon. They said “Sharon is clearly not someone who is terribly comfortable presenting, so when she was asked to present her ideas to management she practised with her son, but then had to resort to the cat when her son started to charge her £1 a session! Sharon has managed to push herself out of her comfort zone in an effort to get her message heard.”
Mark Boon, South West Trains Flagship Station Manager for Clapham Junction & Vauxhall picked up the winners award in the management category of the Outstanding Personal Contribution Award.
As manager of two large and busy stations, Mark has had to rise to the challenge of ensuring the stations and services run smoothly for passengers, while managing and motivating a large team of staff. In his role as station manager at Clapham Junction, he has successfully integrated Southern, Transport for London and South West Trains at the UK’s busiest interchange station which sees around 350,000 passengers a day.
At Vauxhall, Mark has taken the station from being one of the dirtiest on the network to one of the cleanest, and has improved the train service. Mark has given up his free time to set up a Saturday club for drivers and guards in which he tutors then and offers advice.
The judges commented that Mark’s passion, dynamism and commitment to his job was evident from the moment he walked in the door, and the whole judging panel was blown away by him.
Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group, said: “Transport is all about people - the communities where we operate, the customers who use our services, and the employees who make their journeys. We are all very proud of Sharon and Mark for their well deserved awards.
“We have a team of fantastic people working across our businesses and we are investing more than ever before in their training and development. Awards like these are great recognition for our people and the work they are doing to make a real difference for their colleagues, customers and communities."
Malcolm Trussler, a South West Trains Guard based at Basingstoke, was also highly commended in the Outstanding Personal Contribution awards. The judges said that Malcolm walked into his interview with them “looking every inch the railway guard – polished brass buttons and a splendid old-style cap”. Malcolm is the kind of guard who is very visible, and takes pride in his ability to walk through a carriage and spot customers who may be unhappy and will also take the time to see if there is anything he can do to help.
For more information about the National Rail Awards, visit www.awards.railbusinessevents.co.uk.