Some 95% of Lumo’s operational workforce has come through the Newcastle-based business’s apprentice programme in partnership with Train’d Up. In the past three years, 29 females have completed the training compared to 27 males.

Carrie Million, a newly qualified customer driver with Lumo, is proud of the promising rise in interest from women in a typically male-dominated sector.

 

Carrie, said: “It is not uncommon to be the only female in a training room in the rail industry. As a customer driver, I have been in that position and it is easy to feel like a bit of an outsider. It’s great to see that even in a short space of time there’s a lot more women getting involved in the industry through Lumo.”

 

Carrie, 46, from Newcastle, continued: “When I talk to my female colleagues, like Sam, who is still working through her apprenticeship, we’ve noticed a real difference in attitudes when it comes to women in rail. There is a greater level of understanding – Lumo really wants women to join its apprenticeship scheme.”

 

Samantha Bently, 43 from Northumberland, a current trainee customer driver, has also been encouraged by a shift in attitudes towards female apprentices within the rail industry.

 

Samantha, said: “I feel there’s been a shift in attitudes from when Carrie was in training, which is promising to hear as this was only two years ago. I’ve noticed that with more women coming into this space, we are seen as less of an oddity and people are really excited to see us there.”

 

Carrie and Sam discussed the reactions they have faced while on shift as a customer driver and apprentice driver. Sam said: “I’m 43 and I find women my age are really supportive and excited to hear about my journey in becoming a train driver. My friends and family are very proud of me and I’m grateful that I can support my four kids in a job that teaches me new things everyday.”

 

Carrie, added: “I’ve had a lot of positive reactions when I tell people what I do for a career. My daughter, Summer, likes to tell her friends what I do to see the amazed looks on their faces. It makes me happy to see her so proud of her mum. She’s studying for her A-Levels just now but has told me she wants to become a train driver herself!”

 

Lumo is focused on inclusivity and ensuring its workforce is provided with equal opportunities and training, giving everyone who desires an opportunity to explore a career in rail.

 

Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director of Lumo, said: “The rise in women taking part in and completing our apprenticeship training is so refreshing to see. A shift in attitudes is something that is apparent across the industry, particularly in the last decade. We no longer live in a society that looks at train drivers and other railway roles as ‘men’s jobs’.

“At Lumo, we are dedicated to providing equal opportunities for anyone with a passion fora career in rail, and continue to ensure we work with the relevant partners to keep our training schemes updated and relevant to all. I’m hugely excited by our most recent stats, and to see what the future generations bring to the railway industry.”