Young rail stars are on track for a bright future

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NOW this is first class – two teenagers from East Dunbartonshire have been selected to join a pioneering rail apprentice scheme.

Ashleigh Smart (19), of Bishopbriggs, and Gavin DeMarco (18), from Lenzie, have secured a Modern Apprenticeship berth with ScotRail.

The apprentices will achieve an SVQ Level 2 in customer service – and will also have the opportunity to undertake a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, as well as the prospect of a full-time career with ScotRail.

They join 12 other 16-23-year-olds in the scheme, the first of its kind in the UK rail industry.

The 18-month programme, first launched in March 2011, offers valuable experience in three key frontline customer service roles – station booking office, ticket examiner and on-train hospitality host.

Ashleigh (pictured) and Gavin are delighted at being selected for the apprenticeship programme, which has been praised in the Scottish Parliament and also saw ScotRail pick up the Best Newcomer accolade at the 2011 Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

And both are following in their fathers’ footsteps in joining the railways.

Ashleigh, whose father is a driver team manager, was a nursery nurse in the run-up to the apprenticeship.

She said: “I’m always looking for new challenges and love working with people, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn more about customer service.

“And I really enjoy keeping fit – so I’m ready to start on the tasks for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.”

Gavin was studying technical support at college then had a summer job before applying to ScotRail.

He said: “My dad is a conductor for ScotRail, so I already knew that the company is good to work for.

“I think the apprenticeship is a good opportunity for me to try and find a permanent job that I will genuinely enjoy.”

Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, said: “The modern apprenticeship programme was so successful that we have decided to continue the scheme with a second group of young recruits.

“It is an excellent way of nurturing young talent in order to create a highly skilled and loyal workforce.

“The group will face many challenges over the 18 months and in return will receive first-rate training and mentoring to develop their confidence and equip them with the skills to forge a successful career.”

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