How competitive are trainee posts in Yorkshire?

shumason432

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Hello, I currently live in Yorkshire and I am considering a career as a train driver. However after some unreliable sources saying its one of the hardest jobs to get I am having doubts, can anyone here confirm this? Approx how competitive is it and how many times did you have to apply before success? If it is so competitive, is it also so hard to become a conductor?
 
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skyhigh

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As a rule, jobs on the railway are very competitive - especially so for drivers, and it's also competitive for conductors. It's not uncommon for there to be thousands of applications per vacancy. Applications often close early, so don't wait until the last minute to put an application in.

It'll vary, some people will get it on the first go, other people will have 10+ tries before they make it.
 

Horizon22

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Hello, I currently live in Yorkshire and I am considering a career as a train driver. However after some unreliable sources saying its one of the hardest jobs to get I am having doubts, can anyone here confirm this? Approx how competitive is it and how many times did you have to apply before success? If it is so competitive, is it also so hard to become a conductor?

Highly competitive. Expect hundreds of applicants for each position, perhaps even thousands at somewhere like LNER. Guards / TMs / conductors less so, but could easily be a hundred per position with large variations dependent on train company and depot.
 

DriverEight

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In a news story from 2016, the Newcastle Evening chronicle reported that Virgin Trains East Coast advertised for trainee drivers and recieved 15,000 applications
 

craigybagel

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Regardless of wherever you are in the country, the situation is pretty much the same.

Getting a Conductor/Guard/TM (delete as appropriate for your TOC of choice) is very difficult.

Getting a Driver job is very very difficult.

But on the other hand, the only way to guarantee NOT getting the job is to not apply - and hundreds up and down the country get recruited into both roles every year, so it's not impossible.

And there are things you can do to help your chances.
 

4F89

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I managed it first application, and I consider myself to be ridiculously lucky. Lotto odds of achieving it.
 

DunfordBridge

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I live in Yorkshire too and I consider it nearly impossible to find a train driving position in the locality. I cannot wait to pack my bags so I can start a new life as soon as.
 

DunfordBridge

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Do you think it's going to be easier somewhere else?

Yes, it is a numbers game. If I stay put, I will surely reach retirement age before I find paid employment on the railway. I would say that unless I moved to Leeds, the odds would not be in my favour, and to be quite frank, I am sure there are plenty of other places which would be promising.
 
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I would argue that whether you are in Yorkshire, the Midlands, London or anywhere else, it is competitive but it is competitive for a reason.

It took me 5 years to get in to the signalling grade as an external, but it was worth every moment of the wait.
 

bramling

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In a news story from 2016, the Newcastle Evening chronicle reported that Virgin Trains East Coast advertised for trainee drivers and recieved 15,000 applications

It does have to be borne in mind, however, that a significant number of those are likely to be thrown out at the initial sifting stage.

Someone who has the right combination of experience, aptitude and attitude still stands a pretty good chance, even if there’s thousands of applicants.

The exception is perhaps when there’s an applicant already in mind for the post. We all know this does happen, especially for some of the very small depots.
 

Horizon22

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It does have to be borne in mind, however, that a significant number of those are likely to be thrown out at the initial sifting stage.

Someone who has the right combination of experience, aptitude and attitude still stands a pretty good chance, even if there’s thousands of applicants.

The exception is perhaps when there’s an applicant already in mind for the post. We all know this does happen, especially for some of the very small depots.

Quite. I imagine anyone with even some transferable skills would cut that number down to just a few thousands. Things like spelling errors would also pick up several.
 

DriverEight

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Yes, it is a numbers game. If I stay put, I will surely reach retirement age before I find paid employment on the railway. I would say that unless I moved to Leeds, the odds would not be in my favour, and to be quite frank, I am sure there are plenty of other places which would be promising.
I presume that you are in a rural area, with few TOC/FOCs close by. The problem I see is that if you move to Leeds you might increase the amount of opportunities available to you, but you also increase the amount of people eligible to apply. Draw a one hour circle around Leeds and you catch Bradford, Sheffield, some of Manchester, Halifax, Huddersfield and others. I suppose the trick is to find somewhere with plenty of opportunities that's in a low population area. Carlisle, perhaps?
 

16.19

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Becoming a mainline driver is highly competitive regardless of the area.

But don’t let that put you off; you have to be in it to win it as they say.
 

Gemz91

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I always wonder if my naivety about how in demand drivers jobs was what helped me in getting the job. I'd never been on Rail Forums before I had the job so applied because I needed a job and was successful. Sometimes I wonder the desire and chasing the dream has a negative impact on peoples application.

I also think that for many drivers, with the jobs being so in demand, when they get through the process and get the job, it gives them an increased sense of self importance and superiority over others.
 

dctraindriver

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I always wonder if my naivety about how in demand drivers jobs was what helped me in getting the job. I'd never been on Rail Forums before I had the job so applied because I needed a job and was successful. Sometimes I wonder the desire and chasing the dream has a negative impact on peoples application.

I also think that for many drivers, with the jobs being so in demand, when they get through the process and get the job, it gives them an increased sense of self importance and superiority over others.
Many drivers? I’d say no more than a couple at my depot I guess. Think the rest of us realise how lucky we are. Even more so at the moment. Theres no way on this earth that I consider myself more important or superior to my colleagues.
 

Gemz91

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Many drivers? I’d say no more than a couple at my depot I guess. Think the rest of us realise how lucky we are. Even more so at the moment. Theres no way on this earth that I consider myself more important or superior to my colleagues.

Sorry, should have added at my depot/TOC. May not be grade wide. Certainly a number at my (small) depot who think they are superior to guards.
 

Jimbo12345

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Highly highly competitive anywhere and even more so these days with high unemployment. The days of decent jobs on the railways being a secret are long gone, everyone wants to work here now. When I went for my role just under 20k applied for circa 70 positions. Don’t let that put you off though, people get through obvs! I guess my bit of advice would be to apply as soon as you see the advert go up, don’t procrastinate over your application as vacancies can disappear within a matter of hours..pay no attention to the closing date. Good luck
 

DriverEight

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Highly highly competitive anywhere and even more so these days with high unemployment. The days of decent jobs on the railways being a secret are long gone, everyone wants to work here now. When I went for my role just under 20k applied for circa 70 positions. Don’t let that put you off though, people get through obvs! I guess my bit of advice would be to apply as soon as you see the advert go up, don’t procrastinate over your application as vacancies can disappear within a matter of hours..pay no attention to the closing date. Good luck
Just to confirm this, the apprenticeship role advertised by Northern has closed 3 days early leaving some people with part completed applications high and dry.
 

Stigy

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The exception is perhaps when there’s an applicant already in mind for the post. We all know this does happen, especially for some of the very small depots.
That’s true of jobs with one or two vacancies of course, but for something like trainee driver, there’s often several courses planned, meaning upwards of 100 vacancies. Still competitive, naturally, but arguably the hardest part is making the sift.
 

gerryuk

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Are the train companies making a rod for their own backs though? If Northern want to advertise for trainee drivers in say Sheffield or Leeds, would they not be better advertising these jobs locally in Sheffield and Leeds than nationally on their websites? If you have to live within 1 hour of the depot, what's the point of advertising vacancy's in Sheffield around the country, there will be enough applicants locally and it will speed up the whole process.
 

Rockhopper

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I think their application system automatically rejects people who live too far away.
 

skyhigh

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Are the train companies making a rod for their own backs though? If Northern want to advertise for trainee drivers in say Sheffield or Leeds, would they not be better advertising these jobs locally in Sheffield and Leeds than nationally on their websites? If you have to live within 1 hour of the depot, what's the point of advertising vacancy's in Sheffield around the country, there will be enough applicants locally and it will speed up the whole process.
It's a balancing act. They want enough applications to get good quality candidates, but not so many they're snowed under.

Putting it on the website means that anyone who has alerts etc is able to apply, and the system is capable of automatically filtering out those too far away.

Advertising locally tends to mean an article in the local newspaper which generally ends up as something along the lines of "Apply for this job paying £X,000s" and you get loads of candidates who are interested in the money alone and aren't really suitable. That's what I've heard anyway!
 

16.19

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Are the train companies making a rod for their own backs though? If Northern want to advertise for trainee drivers in say Sheffield or Leeds, would they not be better advertising these jobs locally in Sheffield and Leeds than nationally on their websites? If you have to live within 1 hour of the depot, what's the point of advertising vacancy's in Sheffield around the country, there will be enough applicants locally and it will speed up the whole process.
Speed up the whole process.

I admire your enthusiasm.
 

the sniper

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Are the train companies making a rod for their own backs though? If Northern want to advertise for trainee drivers in say Sheffield or Leeds, would they not be better advertising these jobs locally in Sheffield and Leeds than nationally on their websites? If you have to live within 1 hour of the depot, what's the point of advertising vacancy's in Sheffield around the country, there will be enough applicants locally and it will speed up the whole process.

Should just put up a notice on the front door of the train crew messroom at Sheffield... 'Driver jobs going, ask Booking Office or TCS for application form'. :lol:

Anyone who's keen enough to notice gets in!
 

DunfordBridge

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I presume that you are in a rural area, with few TOC/FOCs close by. The problem I see is that if you move to Leeds you might increase the amount of opportunities available to you, but you also increase the amount of people eligible to apply. Draw a one hour circle around Leeds and you catch Bradford, Sheffield, some of Manchester, Halifax, Huddersfield and others. I suppose the trick is to find somewhere with plenty of opportunities that's in a low population area. Carlisle, perhaps?

It is not a rural area but a town on the coast. In 9 years, I have known a trainee driver vacancy at Scarborogh become available twice and there is nothing quite within a one hour radius. One hour of Leeds is an interesting one, how many of those areas are within one hour once you factor in rush hour traffic, which would not usually be a consideration for shift times, but it could be?

Carlisle is quite a good suggestion, not actually within Yorkshire as far as the question is posed by the OP, but plenty of freight and passenger traffic going off there.
 

bramling

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Many drivers? I’d say no more than a couple at my depot I guess. Think the rest of us realise how lucky we are. Even more so at the moment. Theres no way on this earth that I consider myself more important or superior to my colleagues.

There are drivers who consider themselves the absolute b’s and e’s, however one finds such people in all professions and walks of life. The grade in general does have good reason to be proud of itself though, as the training process is pretty gruelling, and performance expectations these days are very high.
 

DriverEight

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It is not a rural area but a town on the coast. In 9 years, I have known a trainee driver vacancy at Scarborogh become available twice and there is nothing quite within a one hour radius. One hour of Leeds is an interesting one, how many of those areas are within one hour once you factor in rush hour traffic, which would not usually be a consideration for shift times, but it could be?

Carlisle is quite a good suggestion, not actually within Yorkshire as far as the question is posed by the OP, but plenty of freight and passenger traffic going off there
The best thing about Carlisle is that it's at the centre of a sparsely populated area. It's a fairly small city, and there are no other cities within an hour of it. Newcastle and Lancaster are closest, but not close enough. Logically, that means less competion for jobs.
 

route101

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Were trainee driver jobs or any on the railway as competitive, before they were advertised on the internet?
 

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