Virgin Train Drivers

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Nosillomr

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Hey, just a quick query. Do Virgin trains recruit only experienced drivers, promote from within or is it a bit of both?
 
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neilb62

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Bit of both, we have a couple a recently trained lads at our place who've been promoted internally.
 

Up_Tilt_390

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I wouldn't be surprised if my thoughts made you ask this. Regardless, I use to believe that Virgin usually only take qualified drivers because it's cheaper and due to the rate of pay and quality of work they can expect to. However, with one post saying a few recently trained drivers have come from within, it makes me think otherwise and that because of a lot of drivers due for retirement soon (from the 70s/80s?) it's probably not possible to poach them all from other companies.

So my answer: yes it is a bit of both, but I'm more willing to think they prefer poaching from other companies but will promote internally if it's not possible. CrossCountry are the same, except I understand that company does not intend or plan to recruit trainee train drivers for the remainder of the franchise.
 

Nosillomr

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I wouldn't be surprised if my thoughts made you ask this. Regardless, I use to believe that Virgin usually only take qualified drivers because it's cheaper and due to the rate of pay and quality of work they can expect to. However, with one post saying a few recently trained drivers have come from within, it makes me think otherwise and that because of a lot of drivers due for retirement soon (from the 70s/80s?) it's probably not possible to poach them all from other companies.

So my answer: yes it is a bit of both, but I'm more willing to think they prefer poaching from other companies but will promote internally if it's not possible. CrossCountry are the same, except I understand that company does not intend or plan to recruit trainee train drivers for the remainder of the franchise.


Interesting, many thanks for the response :)
 

Dieseldriver

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I wouldn't be surprised if my thoughts made you ask this. Regardless, I use to believe that Virgin usually only take qualified drivers because it's cheaper and due to the rate of pay and quality of work they can expect to. However, with one post saying a few recently trained drivers have come from within, it makes me think otherwise and that because of a lot of drivers due for retirement soon (from the 70s/80s?) it's probably not possible to poach them all from other companies.

So my answer: yes it is a bit of both, but I'm more willing to think they prefer poaching from other companies but will promote internally if it's not possible. CrossCountry are the same, except I understand that company does not intend or plan to recruit trainee train drivers for the remainder of the franchise.
Virgin, Cross Country and East Coast have absolutely no problems with recruiting Qualified Drivers.
 

OpsWeb

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Virgin, Cross Country and East Coast have absolutely no problems with recruiting Qualified Drivers.

Its a big problem for regional operators (loosing drivers to Intercity operators). So much so, a lot are putting in contractual clauses requiring trainees to stay for X years or give 6 months+ notice to resign.
 

TDK

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Hey, just a quick query. Do Virgin trains recruit only experienced drivers, promote from within or is it a bit of both?

A friend of mine applied for qualified driver with VT and they were asking for 10 years experience with a clean record at the time.
 

Up_Tilt_390

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Virgin, Cross Country and East Coast have absolutely no problems with recruiting Qualified Drivers.

Yeah, I figured not. It's why I was so surprised to learn that VT have recently promoted two internal staff to be trained as drivers. Having said that, it's not a common occurrence, so no they have no problem recruiting Qualified Drivers.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Its a big problem for regional operators (loosing drivers to Intercity operators). So much so, a lot are putting in contractual clauses requiring trainees to stay for X years or give 6 months+ notice to resign.

I'm not sure how feasible that is, because Qualified Driver positions come up as sudden as trainee positions, so it's hard to give a six month notice for a job you aren't even sure will pop up. It's unfortunate of course, cause it costs around £80k to train new drivers, and to have someone else offer them a better pay and better routes after a while, it must annoy them to do it all again.
 

neilb62

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Should a qualified Driver apply for say VT and be successful then VT will wait whilst he serves his notice period giving a start date when it's finished. All TOC's will do this it's just part of the job so to speak.
 

OpsWeb

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Should a qualified Driver apply for say VT and be successful then VT will wait whilst he serves his notice period giving a start date when it's finished. All TOC's will do this it's just part of the job so to speak.

It gets quite nasty when you to try to leave. When I left a certain TOC - I had to give 6 months notice contractually but I asked if I could reduce it...the result was the TOC threatening to sue me for breach of contract and threatening to sue my new TOC for employing me...

In reality I think they might have been empty threats as I have never heard of anyone actually being sued but is enough to put off people leaving...
 

neilb62

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It gets quite nasty when you to try to leave. When I left a certain TOC - I had to give 6 months notice contractually but I asked if I could reduce it...the result was the TOC threatening to sue me for breach of contract and threatening to sue my new TOC for employing me...

In reality I think they might have been empty threats as I have never heard of anyone actually being sued but is enough to put off people leaving...

As well as being on a knife-edge should you make an error for 6 months.... Not good...
 

Aivilo

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It gets quite nasty when you to try to leave. When I left a certain TOC - I had to give 6 months notice contractually but I asked if I could reduce it...the result was the TOC threatening to sue me for breach of contract and threatening to sue my new TOC for employing me...

In reality I think they might have been empty threats as I have never heard of anyone actually being sued but is enough to put off people leaving...

They do. It did used to be empty threats but I know someone who was targeted.
 

driver9000

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It gets quite nasty when you to try to leave. When I left a certain TOC - I had to give 6 months notice contractually but I asked if I could reduce it...the result was the TOC threatening to sue me for breach of contract and threatening to sue my new TOC for employing me...

In reality I think they might have been empty threats as I have never heard of anyone actually being sued but is enough to put off people leaving...

I found quite the opposite when I left my last TOC. I asked about early release and was granted it without a fuss.
 

Up_Tilt_390

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Wait a minute? Is this early release stuff during the probation period or after you've completed it? I thought that after you've finished your two year probationary period, you were free to transfer companies. Also, say if my ideal but extremely unlikely scenario occurred where I was fully qualified at Arriva Trains Northern and decided I want to apply for a qualified driver post at Virgin. Would submitting that application be the start of the six months notice? I mean honestly, how am I suppose to let them know in advance I'm leaving if the job just came up? Could someone explain that to me? Does it take more than six months to change companies? Does the probationary record even matter anymore?
 

IKB

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Wait a minute? Is this early release stuff during the probation period or after you've completed it? I thought that after you've finished your two year probationary period, you were free to transfer companies. Also, say if my ideal but extremely unlikely scenario occurred where I was fully qualified at Arriva Trains Northern and decided I want to apply for a qualified driver post at Virgin. Would submitting that application be the start of the six months notice? I mean honestly, how am I suppose to let them know in advance I'm leaving if the job just came up? Could someone explain that to me? Does it take more than six months to change companies? Does the probationary record even matter anymore?

I believe it depends from company to company.

Some will want you to pay back training costs if you leave within, for instance, the first 5 to six years. I seem to remember DBS fell into that bracket.

The end of the probationary period is when you've become a fully qualified driver. It doesn't mean by that point the training costs have been recouped. Hence some companies may stipulate when you sign the initial contract that you agree to serve a minimum number of years or pay back certain costs.
 

Aivilo

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It's generally 2 years from becoming a qualified driver. So depending on how long it takes to train you possibly three years at s company before you can move on.

As for notice it's normally 12 weeks, upon job offer you would hand in your notice at which point you would have three months left to work. Some companies will allow you to take any outstanding annual leave therefor being able to reduce you notice period
 

TDK

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Wait a minute? Is this early release stuff during the probation period or after you've completed it? I thought that after you've finished your two year probationary period, you were free to transfer companies. Also, say if my ideal but extremely unlikely scenario occurred where I was fully qualified at Arriva Trains Northern and decided I want to apply for a qualified driver post at Virgin. Would submitting that application be the start of the six months notice? I mean honestly, how am I suppose to let them know in advance I'm leaving if the job just came up? Could someone explain that to me? Does it take more than six months to change companies? Does the probationary record even matter anymore?

If your contract says 6 months notice then you are in breach of contract if you leave early. If in interview and are asked if you can wing it you won't get the job. If you need to give 6 months notice generally you have been with the current company less than 5 years. I negotiated from 3 months to 1 month without any trouble when I transferred from one to another within the same group.

However I have never known a company to try to claim back anything and I think legally all they can do is withhold your holiday pay, if you are paid 4 weekly I am not certain but nothing can be done. It all depends on the content of your contract.
 
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Aivilo

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If your contract says 6 months notice then you are in breach of contract if you leave early. If in interview and are asked if you can wing it you won't get the job. If you need to give 6 months notice generally you have been with the current company less than 5 years. I negotiated from 3 months to 1 month without any trouble when I transferred from one to another within the same group.

However I have never known a company to try to claim back anything and I think legally all they can do is withhold your holiday pay, if you are paid 4 weekly I am not certain but nothing can be done. It all depends on the content of your contract.

I believe on legal grounds they cannot with hold any salary however a certain toc did threaten this.

That same toc will also pursue you through court if need be. Up until the above I had never heard of it being done they really are trying to make an example now
 

red2005

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A friend of mine applied for qualified driver with VT and they were asking for 10 years experience with a clean record at the time.

that must have been donkeys years ago as their last advert said the only thing they Insist on from applicants Is that they are out of their 2 years!
 

Vacuumfriends

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15 Jan 2016
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It is definitely written into new contracts that you agree to stay with the toc you trained with for 2 years of reaching driver grade. I was told in my DMI at the beginning of this month that it'll cost £150k to train me, and if I decide to leave the TOC before contractually obliged, they will seek costs back to the sum of up to £12k if I leave within 6 months of drivers grade, £10k if I leave within a year, £8k within 18 months, and £6k if I leave within 2 years. Nil after that.

It was explained to me that, my TOC invests £150k into trainee drivers and what was happening before was that drivers were leaving as soon as they were trained for other tocs such as Virgin.
 

ComUtoR

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UK
My TOC has clawed back training costs from a couple of Drivers who decided to leave during the probation period.

They withheld salary. It is perfectly legitimate and is written into contracts. Our notice period has recently been increased due to Drivers jumping ship and to reduce the threat from Crossrail. They have been holding Drivers to the new period.
 

sw1ller

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What if the franchise expires and a new company take over. Let's say if a driver passed his/her final tests this week at Northern... Would Arriva have a leg to stand on asking for 3 more years?
 

JAMBO

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What's the current situation with qualified driver recruitment? New routes franchises and such must require quite a lot of drivers?
 

driver9000

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What if the franchise expires and a new company take over. Let's say if a driver passed his/her final tests this week at Northern... Would Arriva have a leg to stand on asking for 3 more years?

You will still be bound by the terms of your contract as TUPE takes everything with you to the incoming company.
 
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