Light Rail, Tram & Metro jobs & careers

The Light Rail, Tram and Metro industry is a relatively small industry, with services in 8 major towns and cities employing approximately 15000 members of staff. Also included in the industry is the London Underground, which is a major employer in London. The main roles in the industry are based around driving and passenger assistance, but also include maintenance and operations delivery/administration. Light rail, tram and metro services (including underground services) are available in Blackpool, Glasgow, London, Nottingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Tyne and Wear and the West Midlands.

In 2008/09 these services provided around 188 million passenger journeys. Recent years have seen an increased investment in light rail, tram and metro systems, with plans for expansion and investigations into the potential for new systems in several major cities across the UK. Amongst the existing systems there has been an increase in passenger numbers and the total distance travelled by tram, light rail and metro more than doubled between the early 1990s and the early 2000s.  Employment levels in the industry have remained fairly stable, with notable changes only occurring when new transport systems have opened.

Career opportunities and skills needed

Career opportunities

The industry plays a key role in integrated passenger transport systems with many services providing links to other passenger transport services, particularly rail services. There is a need for those in supervisory/manager roles to be able to work with colleagues in other passenger transport operators and/or systems and to be able to communicate effectively across different operators. This will support the development of a cohesive view of Light Rail and also of the wider passenger transport and travel industry.

Employers view the training of managers/frontline supervisors as a priority as these employees have a key role in delivery and in succession planning as well as enabling effective communication with other parts of the company and the wider sector. The industry is committed to delivering high quality customer service and to meeting the rising expectations of customers. This means that customer service needs to be part of the training made available to staff throughout the business and managers need to be able to support staff in developing their skills and promoting an appropriate external view of the company.

Skills needed

The Light Rail Industry is relatively small and, as a result, there is limited specialist external training provision available.  Employers invest in significant volumes of training for their employees with most training being delivered in-house. Light Rail employers commit to extensive training to ensure that all of their staff are competent in their work and there is ongoing ‘Continuing Professional Development’ (CPD) and skills development across the industry.

The light rail, tram and metro industry as a whole has a wide variety of skills requirements, including a good level of customer service, clear communication and organisation with the ability to work well in a team.

A good understanding of information technology is useful and an awareness of health and safety.