Facilitated by the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and in conjunction with Southend Adult Community College, the event aimed to improve social inclusions alongside career prospects for young refugees and asylum seekers, the project also hopes to encourage confidence in using public transport.
Students from the college who attended the event were aged between 16 and 19 years old and are studying English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course. They met with Greater Anglia's management team at Southend Victoria Station to find out what kind of jobs are available on the railway.
The management team outlined an array of careers and also saw the students meet a female train driver which was of great interest to the attendees from Afghanistan where this would be unusual. Greater Anglia is committed to encouraging diversity and equality in its workplace and one of its ambitions is to achieve equal gender balance across its workforce.
Southend Adult Community College, Head of Adult Learning, Patricia North, said,
“We were really grateful to the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership for facilitating this really beneficial link.
“Thanks to the Greater Anglia team at Southend, too, for their time and help outlining all the possible job opportunities as we prepare our students for the world of work.
“It was a real eye-opener for our students – especially the girls from Afghanistan who met a female train driver, something that is almost unheard of in their country – and it was great for them to be able to practice their English-speaking skills as well.”
Catherine Gaywood, Community Rail Partnership Officer, said:
“We were delighted to help the college with an introduction to possible careers on the railway with the added benefit of helping young asylum seekers to feel more integrated and confident in using public transport.”
Alan Neville, Greater Anglia's Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said:
“Greater Anglia is a great place to work and we were delighted to welcome the students and show them the different job roles they might want to consider as they start their careers.
“Greater Anglia is committed to diversity, equality and reducing barriers to progression, as a diverse workforce is a better workforce.”