Linlithgow lad on track

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A LINLITHGOW student has become one of ScotRail’s first-ever group of modern apprentices in customer service.

Graeme Cormack has recently graduated under a pioneering initiative to develop young talent.

The 18-month-long scheme - a UK rail industry first - saw 20-year-old Graeme and 10 others trained, paid and given placements in hands-on roles at ScotRail’s stations or on trains as well as hospitality departments. Over the 18 months, each apprentice took on three placements – station booking office, on-train hospitality host and a ticket examiner.

Each achieved a Level 2 Scottish Vocational Qualification in Customer Service as well as a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Graeme was working part-time in a local restaurant before joining ScotRail but he has now secured a permanent job as a member of station staff at 
Bathgate.

He said: “I can’t believe we have graduated – the 18 months have flown by. The apprenticeship has been a challenge, but a great experience. All of the hard work has been worth it to get a permanent job.”

Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, said: “We are extremely proud of Graeme and his colleagues. They have put in a great deal of work over the last year-and-a-half, overcome a number of challenges, and got the most out of the experience.

“The programme has been a great success and will continue with a new group of 15 apprentices later in the year.”

Angela Constance, Minister for Youth Employment paid tribute to the train operator, declaring: “ScotRail is doing its bit in these difficult times to help young people into employment.

‘‘A Modern Apprenticeship involves taking up employment, and at the same time learning new skills and enjoying new experiences. The value to a company of taking on an enthusiastic apprentice cannot be understated.

The MSP added: “Customer service means being the public face of any company, a position that carries great responsibility.

‘‘These graduates have demonstrated they are up to the task and I wish them the very best of success for the future.”

Nine of the other apprentices have either secured, or are applying for, full-time positions with ScotRail while one will join FirstGroup’s graduate trainee programme.