Military veterans advocate for careers in rail

Posted: 28 June 2024 | | No comments yet

Northern Rail celebrates Armed Forces Day by spotlighting veterans who have found a second career in the railway industry, sharing their experiences of transitioning to roles that echo the camaraderie and discipline of their service days.

Military veterans advocate for careers in rail

Credit: Northern

Northern Rail, ahead of Armed Forces Day on 29 June 2024, celebrates its partnership with military veterans who have found a new home in the railway industry. Over the years, numerous former military personnel have joined Northern, drawn by the familiar camaraderie and structured environment akin to their service days.

Lee Walker, based in Newcastle, transitioned from the infantry to becoming a conductor after leaving the Army in 2001. Reflecting on his experience, he highlighted the adjustment period and emphasised how the railway provides a similar sense of purpose and routine as military life. He encourages other veterans to consider a career in rail, noting their invaluable skills and resilient attitudes.

Rob Brown, currently an on-board systems service technician and an active army reservist with REME, described Northern as a “home away from home” for ex-military personnel. He underscores the support network within Northern’s Armed Forces Group, which assists veterans in integrating into civilian careers.

Debra Park, who served in the Army Reserve for 22 years before joining Northern, echoed similar sentiments, stating, “A lot of people who leave the military are looking for structure and the railway offers that. You need to run to time, be disciplined and be able to take and execute orders. I would definitely recommend the railway to people who are leaving the forces and I think the railway benefits from having them. They understand that sometimes you need to stay late and go the extra mile to make sure we can get our customers where they need to go.”

Richard Hinds, Northern’s finance director and former platoon commander, emphasised the cultural similarities between military and railway life, highlighting values such as discipline, integrity and a strong work ethic that resonate across both domains.

Through initiatives like the Armed Forces Covenant signed in 2021, Northern is committed to supporting veterans’ employment and leveraging their skills across various roles, from operations to engineering. For veterans interested in joining Northern, the company encourages them to register for job alerts on their website, citing opportunities to contribute to over 2,500 daily services across more than 500 stations in Northern England.

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