Popular open access operator Hull Trains has teamed up with Northern to inspire the next generation of female train drivers. 

The event, ‘Women in rail - what it takes to become a train driver’, was held at Hull Trains’ recently launched Learning and Development Academy in Hull’s iconic K2 building on Friday 5th July.

College students from across Yorkshire got the chance to use the operator’s new world-class train driver simulator, which offers the highest level of training. 

The equipment highlights how Hull Trains is at the heart of innovation in the rail industry and is continuing to contribute to jobs and skills development in the region.  

Hull Trains is well known for its inclusive culture that specifically focuses on attracting female talent to the industry, having been named as the Top Employer of the Year at the Women in Rail Awards last year.

The operator has been working hard to increase its female workforce, with recent figures showing a 51% male/49% female ratio across its operation, with 27% of all train drivers female – well above the industry average of 6.5%. 

Lou Mendham, Service Delivery Director at Hull Trains, said: “We’re proud to have championed equality and diversity for more than 23 years. Events like this one further cement our commitment on developing our teams for the future and better reflect the communities across our region.

“I’m delighted that we could offer these students the chance to visit our new Learning and Development Academy, which is key to our plan of harnessing the talent of tomorrow and ensuring that they have the skills to drive our company forwards for the benefit of customers and communities.” 

The Hull Trains team come from all walks of life and deliver a wide range of services in a variety of roles for the trains operating on the East Coast Main Line. They serve communities in Beverley, Cottingham, Hull, Brough, Howden, Selby, Doncaster, Retford, Grantham and Stevenage with London King’s Cross.

Satvir Meen, Project Director at the Yorkshire Asian Business Association, was one of those who took part. She said: “It was a great event that shared the experiences of ladies already working in the industry and we even got hands on experience using the simulator.  

“There was a really friendly environment where everyone could ask questions and one of our mentees Zhainab was so inspired that she applied for a position while traveling back to Leeds!”

Northern staff based in Yorkshire and Lancashire helped organise the event and Hanna Quinn, a driver instructor working for the operator in Leeds, was on hand to share her experience of working in the rail industry and take questions from students interested in a career as a driver.

Kerry Peters, Regional Director for Northern, said: “This was a great opportunity to encourage young women to consider a rewarding career in rail and showcase the talents of some of our fantastic female employees.
 
“We are always working to improve inclusivity in our industry and show that we welcome people from all walks of life, as they bring a wide range of skills and experiences.” 
 
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