A train station assistant is in charge of dealing with customer enquiries whilst making sure that the services provided are used correctly. You will ensure that passengers have a pleasant experience on their journey.
Day-to-day activities / duties and responsibilities
• Talking to customers and helping them find the correct route for their journey
• Watching platforms via CCTV to make sure that they are safe
• Selling tickets to customers
• Providing information on the different types of tickets available and how to purchase them
• Keeping track of trains that may be running late and relaying that information to customers through the speakers and displays.
• Helping passengers with mobility issues and difficult baggage to get on and off trains safely
• Providing directions to places in the local surrounding areas.
• Placing grit and salt on to the platform in colder weather.
• Signalling to train drivers so that they know when they can depart.
• Providing customers with information on upcoming engineering works and changes to timetables.
Workplace and working hours
In smaller train stations you will spend most of your time at your desk where you will deal with customers. In larger train stations you may work on the platforms or in different areas of the station providing information to customers or signalling to train drivers when it is safe for them to depart the station. You will work around 40 hours a week in total however this will included evening and weekend shifts. You may also be required to work on some bank holidays too.
Trainee assistants can look to earn around £15,000 a year. However this will rise once you become qualified to an amount of around £17,000 to £20,000 a year.
Qualifications and entry requirements
Many employers will expect you to have good English and Maths skills which would be highlighted by having GCSE’s in these subjects from grades A*-C. Many employers require applicants to take online tests that will focus on analysing your written and numerical skills. You will then be invited to an assessment day and you will also need to take part in a medical test to check your basic health. If you are successful you will then be placed on a short training course and then you will continue to learn on the job and work toward various NVQ qualifications.
Skills and personal attributes
1. Knowledge of train lines and local areas: You should be comfortable with telling people how to travel to different stations and have a good knowledge of different connecting train lines.
2. Confidence and remaining calm: Agitated customers are sometimes hard to deal with but you will still need to do your job. You may need to calm customers down and diffuse tense situations.
3. Communication skills: You will have to talk to and deal with different types of customers. Some will need your help and you should be able to provide them with clear instructions.
4. Numerical skills: You will need to use the till and be able to return the correct amounts of change.
5. Customer service skills: You will be in direct contact with members of the local public. Each customer should leave with their questions answered and should feel comfortable in approaching you. Customers can be fined for using invalid tickets so you should make sure that you are selling them the correct tickets for their journeys.
Job likes and benefits
1. Reduced train travel: Many assistants will be able to purchase train tickets at a heavily reduced price for themselves and immediate family.
2. Meeting new people: You will always be coming into contact with members of the public. You will meet people from different places with different careers and reasons for travelling.
3. Range of jobs: At some stations you will have different tasks to complete. Things such as answering customer questions and helping to keep platforms safe.
4. Direct travel: Many people will travel to work on the trains as there is no need for parking and you will be travelling directly into your workplace.
Job challenges and disadvantages
1. Disgruntled Customers: Train services are not always reliable and sometimes customers may be annoyed and take out their anger on you. You must remain calm and do your best to calm them down also. Your priority is to ensure that other passengers remain comfortable in the station.
2. Hours of work: Train stations will still be open on bank holidays and you will be expected to regularly work weekends and evenings. Whilst working as you should always be available to customers.
3. Few Colleagues: In smaller train stations you may spend most of your time alone in the train station offices as there will be little need for more than one employee to be present at certain times in the day. At busier stations there will be more assistants.
Opportunity, career prospects and job progression
There is the opportunity for a Train Station Assistant to eventually become a Train station manager where they would receive a salary of around £32,000-£36,000 a year. Larger stations will require more work. There are train stations all over the country and as public transport begins to become a more viable option for the public more money is being invested into the station meaning that more positions will be available.
https://www.networkrail.co.uk/careers/working-in-a-major-station/ Network Rail Jobs
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