Become a Train Driver with Avanti West Coast

Find out about what it’s like to be a Trainee Train Driver below.

Our Mission and Mural

We recognise that there is a massive gender gap within our train driver workforce. Our mission? To encourage women to apply to become train drivers with Avanti West Coast.

We’ve made it our goal to increase the number of female applicants for new driver roles with us to 50% by 2030. In order to reach that goal, we need to show women that train driving is a career for them and smash the social stereotypes about who belongs in Avanti West Coast’s Class of 2023.

This isn’t a new idea - women have been part of the driver workforce since 1979 when trailblazer Karen Harrison became one of the first female train drivers in the UK. Unlike many firsts however, her story isn’t widely known or recognised. We want to change that - Karen deserves to be painted as a true pioneer who broke down barriers for hundreds who have followed in her footsteps. In addition to her role as a driver, Karen fought for the rights of other women, and minorities, in the rail industry.

In 1978, being a female train driver was a big deal, and we're working hard to make sure it isn’t anymore. The best way to remind everyone of Karen’s achievements and inspire the next generation? A massive mural at Euston station painted by Manchester-based graffiti artist Akse, visible to passengers starting and finishing their journeys.

Our Mural in London Euston of Female Train Driver Karen

Follow in Karen’s footsteps!

Register your interest by creating an account with us now, and we will drop you an email when we are next recruiting for Trainee Driver roles.

Register here!

A career where you’re in the driving seat.

If you can travel to your designated depot within an hour, meet the required medical standards and are over 20 ½ years old at the time of applying – then you could reach a salary of circa £70,000 within just a few years. Becoming a Train Driver does come with lots of responsibility, so you need to be disciplined and customer focused with a healthy respect for the rules and a strong commitment to providing punctual services.

Sound like you? Well, this isn’t your standard 9-5, and you’ll need to be prepared to make some sacrifices like turning down the odd social invitation. You should also be comfortable spending long periods of time alone, eager to continually learn and happy to work flexible shift patterns, whether that’s early mornings or late nights.

There are plenty of perks, too. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, then you’ll soon discover that driving a train is more than a job – it’s a career you can be incredibly proud of.

Chloe's story

Our trainee driver Chloe is hoping her positive experience in the railway industry will encourage other women to pursue a similar career path.

Read Chloe's story

In the spotlight

Recently, our colleague Alice shared her story about becoming an Avanti West Coast Train Driver with

Read all about it here >

Your questions answered

Hopefully, you’ll find all the answers to your questions below. But, if you think of something that’s not been covered, then please feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to get back on touch as soon as we can.

Trainee driver Q&A - Christina, Liverpool

What first attracted you to the role of Trainee Driver?

What would you tell anyone who is potentially interested in a career as a Trainee Driver? What advice would you give?

How do you find the work life balance of being a driver?

How did you adjust to being a driver?

How hard is the training to become a trainee driver?

Application Q&A - Avanti West Coast Team

Stage 1 - Application Form (AWC Hosted)

Stage 1.5 - Online Sift

Stage 2 - OPC Online Questionnaire and Online Assessments

Stage 3 - OPC Assessment Centre, Paper tests

Stage 4 - OPC Face to Face Assessment Centre, computer based tests

Stage 5 – Final Interviews – Driver Manager Interview

Become a part of our journey

Find out more about what it means to be a part of our journey and watch the Avanti West Coast brand film below.

Driving Progress

Our employment opportunities are open to everyone, so that people can build a long and satisfying career with us. And to look after tomorrow we need a workforce that is creative, innovative and able to provide services that are tailored to the needs of our communities. That’s why a diverse workforce is so important to us.

Diversity ensures that we bring a range of voices and stories into our business that can lead to a creative and forward-thinking organisation. That’s why we’re encouraging everyone – and especially people from under-represented groups such as women, those from ethnic minority backgrounds, and people from LGBTQ+ communities – to apply for a role as a Trainee Train Driver. If you’re interested, be sure to register for opportunities. We want to make sure our vacancies are available to applicants who might not previously have thought of becoming a train driver.

We’re always working to make sure that everyone who joins us can share their spark, have their voice heard and valued, and therefore contribute to their full ability. Put simply – people perform better when they can be themselves.

Ride against climate change

Climate train

One train can take up to 500 cars off the road and we’re encouraging people to ride against climate change. With the latest methods, we coach and encourage our drivers to operate even more efficiently and you too could be at the front of the fight against climate change – driving some of the most high tech trains in the industry.
View our COP26 page >

Through a driver’s eyes

Train drivers view

Our colleagues Darran and Dave have created a series of videos where you can see what it’s like sitting behind the wheel of a Pendolino, or should we say lever.

A message from the Recruitment Team

"The fact that you’re on this page is great news as it means you’ve taken the first step towards becoming a Trainee Train Driver with Avanti West Coast. The role of Trainee Driver is open to everyone and we actively encourage anyone to apply. We want to lead the way for our industry with a workforce that really does represent the communities that we serve. We want to hear from you and we hope you’ll feel encouraged to share your spark."