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Train-blazers: Lumo breaks rail industry mould with female apprenticeship

Tyneside-based train operator Lumo is successfully encouraging women into the rail industry, with more females than males completing its apprenticeship scheme since it launched

Published 08 Mar 2024

Some 95% of Lumo’s operational workforce has come through the Newcastle-based business’s apprentice programme in partnership with Train’d Up. In the past three years, 29 females have completed the training compared to 27 males. 



Carrie Million
, a newly qualified customer driver with Lumo, is proud of the promising rise in interest from women in a typically male-dominated sector.

Carrie, said: “It is not uncommon to be the only female in a training room in the rail industry. As a customer driver, I have been in that position and it is easy to feel like a bit of an outsider. It’s great to see that even in a short space of time there’s a lot more women getting involved in the industry through Lumo.”

Carrie, 46, from Newcastle, continued: “When I talk to my female colleagues, like Sam, who is still working through her apprenticeship, we’ve noticed a real difference in attitudes when it comes to women in rail. There is a greater level of understanding – Lumo really wants women to join its apprenticeship scheme.”






Samantha Bentley, 43 from Northumberland, a current trainee customer driver, has also been encouraged by a shift in attitudes towards female apprentices within the rail industry.

Samantha, said: “I feel there’s been a shift in attitudes from when Carrie was in training, which is promising to hear as this was only two years ago. I’ve noticed that with more women coming into this space, we are seen as less of an oddity and people are really excited to see us there.”

Carrie and Sam discussed the reactions they have faced while on shift as a customer driver and apprentice driver. Sam said: “I’m 43 and I find women my age are really supportive and excited to hear about my journey in becoming a train driver. My friends and family are very proud of me and I’m grateful that I can support my four kids in a job that teaches me new things everyday.”

Carrie, added: “I’ve had a lot of positive reactions when I tell people what I do for a career. My daughter, Summer, likes to tell her friends what I do to see the amazed looks on their faces. It makes me happy to see her so proud of her mum. She’s studying for her A-Levels just now but has told me she wants to become a train driver herself!”

Lumo is focused on inclusivity and ensuring its workforce is provided with equal opportunities and training, giving everyone who desires an opportunity to explore a career in rail.

Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director of Lumo, said: “The rise in women taking part in and completing our apprenticeship training is so refreshing to see. A shift in attitudes is something that is apparent across the industry, particularly in the last decade. We no longer live in a society that looks at train drivers and other railway roles as ‘men’s jobs’.

“At Lumo, we are dedicated to providing equal opportunities for anyone with a passion for a career in rail, and continue to ensure we work with the relevant partners to keep our training schemes updated and relevant to all. I’m hugely excited by our most recent stats, and to see what the future generations bring to the railway industry.”

 

 

About Lumo

Lumo is a rail travel experience that is kinder to the planet and better value for customers, making it a greener and more affordable choice for long distance travel in the UK.

Lumo offers a single class service which puts everyone in the ‘good seats’ with optimised leg room and extendable tray tables that can take a full sized laptop. It also gives customers the option of keeping their luggage close by or, for an additional charge, having it delivered to their final station or destination.

Lumo will contribute over £740m to the economy over the next 10 years and will continue to generate over 1m extra seats on the network every year. It has directly created over 100 new roles in the rail industry, mostly based in the North East, with the supply chain supporting businesses across the UK. Lumo is an ‘open access’ train operating company, meaning it does not receive state funding, and has invested £100m to manufacture and maintain five 100% electric trains, built by Hitachi.

Other services include LumoEats, an at seat catering offer which will allow customers to purchase on board from our catering trolley or pre-order food via the LumoGo app from a range of high street brands. LumoLuggage - a bespoke courier service designed to sustainably transport your oversized, heavy luggage to your final destination, and LumoGo, an all-in-one free Wi-Fi and entertainment centre that will allow customers to tweet, work, and play on the go.

Find out more at www.lumo.co.uk