Published 23 Jun 2022
44-year-old Carrie Million worked in education for twelve years – a career that accommodated her childcare needs well. With her daughter, Summer, now aged 16, the single mother felt it was time to pursue a career in the rail industry.
Carrie, from Peterlee in County Durham, who is in her first year as an apprentice ‘Customer Driver’, driving trains with Lumo, began her journey as a Lumo Customer Experience Ambassador.
Inspired by her train driver sister Katy, Carrie was excited to take on a role within a traditionally male-dominated industry. Her sister’s genuine passion for her job inspired Carrie to make a move into rail, motivating her to apply for Lumo’s apprentice Customer Driver training scheme.
Carrie said: ‘When I applied for the trainee job, Lumo only had one female driver. There were five roles available, and I knew I had the ability to take on one of those positions. I wanted more women in the driver’s seat.
‘I think it’s important to lead change - there’s no reason women can’t do this job. When I first told my family and friends, I did receive a few surprising reactions. Some thought it was an odd career choice, or maybe just didn’t associate train driving with being a woman. But, the more women we can get in the driving seat, the less ‘normalised’ these reactions will be.’
Carrie’s two-year apprenticeship started in September 2022, with extensive classroom learning, training and exams undertaken ahead of any physical driving training or train operation.
She said: ‘The driving is very technical, and it’s so important that you understand every single step involved. Most importantly, you need to have the ability to stay calm, and make conscious decisions with quick reactions. Your train and your passengers are your responsibility, you need to really own your skills in confidence, assertiveness, and logical thinking.’
As a woman in the rail industry Carrie has received what she calls “interesting” reactions and has wondered if conversations or interactions may have been different had she been a man.
She continued: ‘I haven’t experienced anything negative per say – it’s more that I get interesting reactions when people realise I am a train driver, which I don’t see my male colleagues receiving. Passengers seem surprised, but in a good way, when they see that I’m their driver.'
‘If I could go back and speak to my younger self, I’d tell myself to get into the rail industry sooner. I wish I hadn’t waited so long.
‘I’d say to young women, if you haven’t thought about it, why not? Look at the skills you have and if you could apply them to the role and get involved then what are you waiting for?
‘The management team are so supportive and approachable, there’s no hierarchical feeling and no barriers - everyone mixes and speaks with each other, and the overall ethos is so encouraging and welcoming’.
Recent statistics show that just 6.5% of train drivers in the UK are women. Lumo is working to ensure that diversity is key in its recruitment process in support of improving this stat and making careers in rail accessible to all. To find out more about career opportunities with Lumo, please visit the careers page here.