The Transport for Wales apprenticeship offers an NVQ Level 3 Qualification in train driver operations and is the first of its kind for Wales.
Transport for Wales (TfW) is hoping to sign up more than 100 apprentices before the end of 2021 and aims to take on around 100 more apprentices each year for the next five years.
The impressive apprenticeship scheme sees TfW as the first rail operator to offer the accredited qualification and has seen a combined effort to bring the project to fruition by TfW's training team alongside Rail Delivery Groups train driver academy, Coleg y Cymoedd and ASLEF who are the national trade union for train drivers.
Adam Bagwell, Operations Training Manager at Transport for Wales, said:
“I am absolutely proud and delighted we are now able to offer a recognised level 3 qualification and apprenticeship for train drivers for the very first time in Wales.
“This has been a long time coming and the hard work from our training team in partnership with the Rail Delivery Group's (RDG) train driver academy, Coleg y Cymoedd and the national Trade Union for Train Drivers, ASLEF, has now come to fruition.
“The train driver's role is a professional, highly skilled job and our drivers deserve the recognition for their hard work through training in the form of this qualification. It shows we are committed to provide the best possible training to our drivers in Wales and the borders.”
Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters, said:
“The creation of Transport for Wales was not just about improving public transport but to bring other benefits to our communities as we do so. Bringing on apprentices into well-paid jobs is a great example of how we are doing both.”
First to join the apprenticeship scheme were Kevin Whitlock, Drew Bradley, Robyn Williams, Richard Lee Hext, Joel David Hier, Rhys William, Stephen Edward Jones and Michael Davies.
Matthew Tucker, Assistant Principal – Business Services at Coleg y Cymoedd said:
“Coleg y Cymoedd are delighted to work in partnership with TFW by supporting the development of the first Level 3 Train Driver apprenticeship in Wales. We have been working with TFW for almost 2 years, supporting upskilling and training across various departments. The Train Driver Level 3 is the first in Wales and generates new opportunities and ensures consistency across the UK.”
“There has been huge infrastructure investment and development in transportation across Wales, creating this apprenticeship ensures education and skills development forms a critical part.”
TfW has provided a large investment in its training facilities which feature new train and platform simulators with all driver trainers recently starting or already completed the NVQ Level 3 Qualification for learning and development.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers' union, added:
“We are thrilled the first-ever accredited qualification in train driving, in Wales, is finally in place.
“It's a great step forward for training, for train drivers, for the railway, and for Wales.”