Application

When applying to be a train driver you will be asked to complete an application form. In some cases you may also be asked to complete other tests such as a Situational Judgement Exercise or a telephone interview. Before submitting an application you should gather some information about what the role entails, the type of skills you will need and the type of environment you will be working in. Train driving is not for everyone so you should be sure this is the job for you before applying.

Assessments and interview

If your application is successful you will be asked to undertake the train driver psychometric assessment. This consists of a range of assessments that assess your cognitive skills, psychomotor skills (hand coordination) and your behavioural preferences. The aim is to identify candidates who do not have the underpinning ability to be a safe train driver. The assessments can be carried out in one day, but typically employers split the assessments into two stages.

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Job offer and pre-employment checks and medical

If you pass the assessments and interview and are deemed suitable for the role and company, then you will be offered the job, subject to things like a medical examination, working permit (if relevant) and other pre-employment checks. The medical examination includes:

A electrocardiograph (ECG)
Vision and hearing test
Drug and alcohol screening
Assessment of general health

Training and assessment

Once you have passed the medical and any other pre-employment checks you will then be enrolled on a driving training programme. This typically takes 18 months to 2 years and will teach you how to drive a train safely and competently. The programme develops the knowledge, technical skills, non-technical skills and functional skills you need to be a safe train driver.
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Qualified driver

Once you have passed the training and assessments you will be a qualified driver. You will be driving your train and your knowledge and skills will be assessed regularly as part of your organisations competence management system. This is a cycle of assessments and development activities so you continue to grow and develop as a train driver.

All newly qualified drivers also enter a post qualification period. This is a period of one to two years (depending on the organisation) where you will drive your train and will be monitored more closely than more experienced drivers. This period is used to help you continue to develop your knowledge and skill and grow as a professional train driver.

National qualifications

Many organisations will offer you the chance to join their train driver apprenticeship scheme and achieve a nationally recognised qualification. The scheme typically starts with your training and assessment and is completed after you have become a qualified driver.