About to embark on my new career

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by Candy82, 12 Jan 2020.

  1. Candy82

    Candy82 Member

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    Hi, new member here

    I’ve been successful in the process and offered a place as a trainee driver
    Since my offer, I’ve been having a flick through on this forum to get a real idea of what to expect
    But I’ve seen soooo many negative posts that I’m actually quite worried if I’m doing the right thing. Now I’m not asking anyone for their opinion about what I should do, only I can decide that

    What I would like is an honest account of what to expect....
    I’ve read on here some TOCs give you incidents on your record to keep you, is this true?
    What is the common practice regards pay periods and overtime?
    Are there any recently qualified drivers that would be happy to pm?
    No doubt I’ll have more questions as I go along
    Thanks in advance for your help
     
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  3. Headhunco

    Headhunco Member

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    congrats

    I’d personally say forget about them questions lol , you need to get through the training course first, rules traction and handling I’m a trainee myself about to finish my training no need to worry about overtime or incidents as of yet especially overtime as you won’t be doing any most likely till you pass out .Your TOC should implement strategies for you to avoid incidents, I know your excited and what’s so but I’m in the thick and thin of it atm and once your in it your main focus is trying to get your key

    good luck !
     
  4. 43066

    43066 Member

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    Congratulations on the offer and welcome to the industry!


    The best way to guard against this is to make the most of your training and avoid having incidents in the first place. If you haven’t had an incident, it can’t be put onto your record!

    Some types of work tend to lead to more incidents than others. Doing DOO all shacks metro work means you’ll be stopping at 100+ stations per shift, so far more opportunities to stop short, put up a wrong side release etc. than if you’re doing mainline/guarded/intercity type work.

    Driving trains on busy commuter networks in the London area means you’re going to encounter far more restrictive aspects, so SPADs/TPWS against reds etc become more likely.

    Pay tends to be four weekly (usually on a Friday, with payday getting earlier and earlier throughout the year - which can be a pain in the bum in terms of monthly outgoings etc.).

    Rest days tend to be paid at the end of the period you did them in, subject to payroll deadline - typically in a four week pay period, rest days worked in the first three weeks would be paid that period, rest days in the last week would roll over to the next.

    Be very, very careful about smashing the overtime when you’re newly qualified...
     
    Last edited: 13 Jan 2020
  5. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    Ignore the negativity. If you want this, go for it. You will have good days and bad days whilst training and sometimes you’ll wonder if it’s really for you. I’ve had those moments during my training and I’m still having them now (towards the final hurdles...).

    I’m not sure what your background is, but if you’re an emergency services leaver, you’ll soon realise it was a good choice no doubt. I was within the railway already, but it’s still been a culture shock going from two weeks of lates to two weeks of earlies, on a 4 week rotation to the shifts being all over the place and not being able to “do what I want” anymore. You’ll love it, I’m sure.
     
  6. 43066

    43066 Member

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    And yes, as above. Ignore the negativity :D.
     
  7. RBSN

    RBSN Member

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    Personally Id say get as many hours as you can in, especially when you’re new. Make the most of the extra experience you will gain driving on your own - which is vital. Not to mention the extra money you’ll get!
     
  8. 43066

    43066 Member

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    I’d respectfully disagree with you there.

    Fatigue is a huge issue in this industry. I’d urge any newly qualified driver not to do any overtime, for at least the first year or so.
     
  9. Candy82

    Candy82 Member

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    Thank you all for the feedback and welcome!

    With regards to the overtime, it was more about when they pay it as I’d heard it gets ‘stored up’ and paid every quarter or more

    I’m not intending to opt for overtime as I’ve never done shift work, so regardless of the pattern it’ll be new to me and I’ll be making adjustments to this different way of working. I’m prepared for it to be difficult to begin with

    For the newly trained people - is the classroom 9-5, 5 days a week? My TOC has told me its 40 days of module one and 17 days for module two
     
  10. Candy82

    Candy82 Member

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    This makes perfect sense, when I read the comment on another thread, I thought this must be the case but it did concern me nonetheless
     
  11. baz962

    baz962 Established Member

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    Overtime gets paid every four weeks at the toc's. I believe some freight companies pay it a different way. It's a great career and I'm sure you are doing the right thing. Personally I did a bit of overtime as a newbie and I'm at an intensive metro doo toc , but I am comfortable with it and you should make that decision for yourself. Very best of luck to you , knuckle down revise and work hard and you will be fine.
     
  12. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    It depends on the TOC to be honest. Classroom training certainly usually works like that. Probably more like 9-3 Monday to Friday. Can’t answer about the modules you mention, as that sounds like something your TOC does specifically.
     
  13. Candy82

    Candy82 Member

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    Thank you! I’m certainly not afraid of hard work and it’s good to hear some positivity!!
     
  14. Llama

    Llama Established Member

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    I'd agree with you there. You need to learn to walk before you run, I work at a depot with a load of new drivers, many of them chasing overtime after having bought/leased stupidly expensive cars etc, and the incident levels are through the roof. Far too many PQA drivers also think that the current levels of rest-day work will last forever, anyone with any experience knows that's not the case, there have been long periods with no rest-day working sanctioned in the last two decades.
     
  15. ninhog

    ninhog Member

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    This is terrible advice. Once qualified, you’re still undergoing a massive learning curve. Driving on your own is totally different to having the safety net of a Driver Instructor.
     
  16. Dynamonic

    Dynamonic Member

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    We were advised in training school that rest day working whilst you’re newly passed out puts you at greater risk of being involved in an incident.
     
  17. Candy82

    Candy82 Member

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    I’m not intending to put myself forward for overtime, I will be getting used to the shift work first and foremost!

    my question was more, how is it paid? As I heard it is sometimes banked and paid in a lump sum rather than the regular monthly pay
     
  18. Twotwo

    Twotwo Member

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    Congratulations! What toc is it with?
     
  19. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    Rate of pay and how it's paid depends on the company. I get paid for any rest days worked in the normal 4 weekly cycle, Freightliner for example paid it in a lump sum but I'm not sure if they still do this.

    You've landed a much sought after role that while certainly has its down sides I wouldn't change it for anything. Enjoy it!
     
  20. DRS66421

    DRS66421 Member

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    Congratulations! Can you advise on how to get through the psychometric tests? Do you know of any practice material (particularly online) that will help with passing the tests? Thanks.
     
  21. RBSN

    RBSN Member

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    It’s really not. You need the experience, you won’t get that sat in the mess room.

    Yes you’re on a learning curve, however you should now be more than capable of driving safely on your own. You’ve passed your Mod 7 exams and have been found to be trained to a certain level.

    It’s now on you to gain experience and (personally) I found working a little extra only helped me in achieving that.
     
    Last edited: 20 Jan 2020
  22. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    You should be able to get plenty of experience without hammering overtime. I agree that too much overtime could be counterproductive. You’ll be at risk of fatigue more so than anything, especially since driving unsupervised will still be very new (I’d imagine concentration levels will be at an all time high, but long-term, one would become tired and fatigued more quickly?).
     
  23. RBSN

    RBSN Member

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    Certainly not advising to hammer overtime but the odd day here and there won’t harm you. We have newly qualified drivers who are almost scared of getting out there which is the real issue. They would much rather be sat spare for days on days.
     
  24. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    In that case I agree. The odd day won’t hurt, I thought we were talking about getting as much in as possible.
     
  25. OneLowban

    OneLowban Member

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    Congrats @Candy82. IMO taking up trainee driver position is a great move. Lucky to be offered and holds great benefits.


    After being told and reading many times about not doing overtime for the first year etc, I must say I do agree here.

    I have been qualified around 4 months now and my first ever journey alone felt as if I were just doing what I had been doing for months, albeit a bit weird looking to my right and the seat being empty.

    After the first month I started putting my name down for overtime and so far have done a maximum of 4 days extra in the month. I was used to shifts from all my previous jobs so wasn’t worried about that but I did space the days out to make sure I had rest days around them still.

    As you say regarding experience, especially over Christmas working extra Sundays for example where there were special workings/services/shunts allowed me to see a lot more than the norm. Yesterday was overtime for me and I experienced 2/3 things that I can’t say when would of happened.
     
  26. 43066

    43066 Member

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    I would be very, very careful with this.

    I’ve seen plenty of trainees qualify, almost immediately start doing a lot of rest days (four in a month is a lot.). These were often the people who quickly ended up off track after having incidents (often serious ones, often more than one) soon after qualifying.

    One you’ve had an incident you’ll start to come under pressure, go onto a plan etc. which can create a vicious circle. Of course, the one thing you’ll never told, as part of a development plan, is not to do any more over time!

    Once you’ve got a few mess ups on your record you’ll find it a lot more difficult to move to TOCs offering more desirable work, should you wish to.

    If you’re at a commuter/DOO type operator with intensive work it’s even worse. The “four day week” is really a normal five day working week compressed into a four day period - something a lot of people forget.

    It’s worth doing everything you can to preserve a clean record for the future. Lots of drivers at my last place were trapped by poor records, unable to move, and were having to work several rest days per month to earn the same as other TOCs pay as a basic wage (and for far better, less intensive, work!).
     
    Last edited: 21 Jan 2020
  27. OneLowban

    OneLowban Member

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    Appreciate the heads up and I do understand where you are coming from, especially if you’ve seen loads of trainees over your time. Though I do feel I am being careful and am not out to hammer the overtime in any sense, but manage it carefully.

    We have Sundays outside so we have 1 or 2 booked extra Sundays each month anyway and I have just added rest days to make it 4 total so far and have spaced days within my long weekend etc so I’m not working too many days in a row. 4 is just the maximum I would go to not a goal as such, just depends on the month.

    I do feel that our work on the WAML helps as it’s varied and not too intense. It may be a different story if I were on a more intense line.
     
  28. RBSN

    RBSN Member

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    You’ll be perfectly fine doing what you’re doing
     
  29. Candy82

    Candy82 Member

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    Thank you all for your words of encouragement!
    I appreciate the opinions on overtime and will certainly make sensible decisions
     

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