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12 Nov 2018

Southeastern sets target to recruit more female train drivers

Southeastern sets target to recruit more female train drivers: Ellyn Freitas Camacho (6)

Train company launches initiative to encourage more women to opt for a career in rail.

Southeastern is today launching an initiative to encourage more women to opt for a career in rail, an industry which can offer an exciting, fulfilling range of skills and opportunities.

In order to boost the number of women in front-line roles, the company has set a target of raising the number of female applicants for train driver roles to 40% by 2021.

At present, only 4.5% of Southeastern’s drivers are female – a figure in line with national statistics. Southeastern is determined to break the perception of driving trains as a male-dominated occupation. Across the entire rail industry, just 16% of employees are female.

Southeastern has introduced initiatives including:

  • Mentoring and development programmes for female employees
  • Amended imagery in recruitment campaigns to reflect diversity
  • Mandatory unconscious bias training for all managers
  • Partnership with WorkingMums, a leading employment website, to attract applicants
  • Employability programmes aimed at women, to provide help with application and interview techniques
  • Recruitment Open Days specifically aimed at women
  • Establishment of a women’s colleague network group – WIRE (open to all colleagues in Southeastern. Participants include women and male allies)

Uniquely on the national rail network, Southeastern has gender balance on its eight-strong executive committee, with an even split of male and female executives.

Ellie Burrows, Southeastern’s Train Services Director, said: “Driving a train brings responsibility, pride and achievement. It’s high time we broke the perception of the railways as a male-dominated industry. There are thousands of talented women out there who could have a rewarding career working in roles ranging from engineering to driving, on-board supervising or sales.

“Society has moved on. It’s no longer the case that little boys play with toy trains and little girls play with dolls. It’s vital that as a major transport operator, we have a workforce that reflects the diversity of our passengers.”

Over the coming months, Southeastern will be running a series of recruitment campaigns encouraging women and men from a wide range of backgrounds to apply for roles as drivers.

Contact information

Southeastern Press Office

0330 095 9091

Notes to editors


Mark Sands
Phone: 07979 904401

Southeastern press office
Phone: 0330 095 9091 (24-hours)


About Southeastern:

Southeastern runs train services into London from Kent and East Sussex, operating over 2000 trains a day, carrying more than 640,000 passengers a day, serving 176 stations and covering 540-miles of railway infrastructure.

Southeastern is owned by Govia, a joint venture between the Go-Ahead Group (65 per cent) and Keolis (35 per cent).

Govia is the most enduring partnership between transport operators delivering rail franchises in this country.

It is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for 28.7 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its four rail companies, Southern, Southeastern, Govia Thameslink Railway and London Midland Further information on Govia is available at:

Go-Ahead Group plc is one of the UK's leading providers of passenger transport services operating in the bus, rail and aviation services sectors.

Keolis is a French-based operator of transport services in 13 countries worldwide and is owned by SNCF, AXA Private Equity, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, and Keolis management.


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