So what can you expect? Once you’ve completed the training, you’ll still be supported in your new job but there will be times when you may be working alone, albeit within telephone or radio contact of others. What will your working day be like? We asked some of our staff a number of questions about working for Southern and the advice they would give people who are considering a career at Southern.
Read what they have to say:
What advice would you give anyone considering an application with Southern?
Gateline Assistant - You always have to consider the pros and cons and decide what type of job you would like to do and which matches your capabilities and skills. I think Southern has a comprehensive HR department with different assessment centres which might help you find your strengths and your weaknesses. Our role requires extra flexibility not just from you, but maybe from your family. Another thing is the commuting time – as a general rule usually you must live an hour’s journey from the station. This also must be considered as the extra journey, especially during service disruption, might be very demanding, quite tough. I advise people starting with Southern to always compare the opportunities that are there and choose the best one that most suits their capabilities, skills and qualifications.
Conductor - If you want a challenge, and you want to go somewhere different every day of the week and meet different people, it’s a wonderful job. It is shift work and you can’t say you’re going to finish at this time of day because it depends what the day throws at you. We can’t look for every eventuality because you can’t cover it; every day is different. Our job is not 9-5 and that is the one thing they need to consider. Just because your shift’s finished doesn’t mean you are. Look at the snow Sunday night – we had staff still there at 7 o’clock in the morning who should have finished at midnight because their trains were stuck and they had passengers, and they can’t leave the train. It is shift work and the hours can be hard work.
Platform Assistant - Be prepared for the unexpected, because it does happen. I think you’re in for a good time. It’s a good job, steady job. Every day is different, no day is the same and just enjoy it. Different passengers – you’ll meet some really lovely people and get to know about the services. It’s a good job. Shift work – you’ve got to get used to the early starts, late starts and you’ve got to understand that that is part and parcel of the job. You’ve got to be prepared for early starts and sometime it does get to you but early starts and late starts, once you’ve got into a routine, I’m sure you’ll find it OK.
The best part of my job?
Platform Assistant - I enjoy the different types of passengers; I’ve made a lot of friends out of the passengers. They are a friendly bunch. I enjoy the people I work with and I have job satisfaction. I enjoy making people happy, really. They get on their train and they’re happy with the service they receive from us on the platforms. They’ve got the information that they need. Sometimes they may come in and they’ve lost something and we’ve been able to trace it for them and they’re pleased about that. I enjoy the diversity of the job.
The most challenging?
Platform Assistant - You do have days when there’s lots of disruptions, lots of things go wrong. It might not be one thing but three things could go wrong that day. You’ve got to ensure that all your passengers are informed, making sure they’re regularly updated with times when trains are coming in or with others ways of getting them home or to their destinations, making sure there’s a bus service, giving them information of local bus services. It can be frustrating when you can’t do that sometimes; you don’t know when the next trains going to come in! Generally, it’s alright, you do have a good outcome but it is frustrating when you can’t deliver that high standard of service that you’re used to in the day. How do I deal with that? You’ve got to liaise with Control, trying to get extra services out, trying to make trains stop at stations for people that have been stood there for quite a long time. You’ve got to stay friendly, even if there is nothing you can do. You’ve got to still remain upbeat because, despite that, passengers do expect that from you and you want to make sure they’re alright.
Visit Southern's recruitment website for Jobs and Careers with Southern and Gatwick Express.