At only 21 years of age, Esther Lamb has already gained a broad understanding of the rail industry through various placements in her Level 5 Operations and Departmental Manager Apprenticeship with CIRO.

Studying alongside her full-time job at East Midlands Railway (EMR), Esther is due to complete her Level 5 Apprenticeship in May 2022.

Esther said: “Never did I imagine that I’d be working on the railway, but now I’m here, I don’t want to be anywhere else. I think the role is very fulfilling and varied as I’ve had the opportunity to experience different aspects of the business in the last two years.”

Following her A Levels, Esther applied to go to university, however she decided to defer her place and look for employment. Esther said: “I felt I wasn’t ready for university and didn’t really know what I wanted to do in my career. I began a role at Lloyd’s Banking Group as a Customer Service Associate but after eighteen months, I realised I wanted to continue my education while remaining in employment – an apprenticeship seemed like the ideal route to take.”

In Esther’s first year, she fully immersed herself as a Station Duty Manager at Derby Station. Here, the Apprentice’s responsibilities included overseeing the successful despatch of trains and asset management. Esther said: “I ensured that the station was well maintained at all times and managed in line with EMR safety, security and environment procedures.”

The second year of her Apprenticeship at EMR offered the chance to experience a role as a Safety Business Partner which was much more data driven than Esther’s previous role. Esther commented: “Currently, I lead a station risk management project, producing a suite of generic risk assessments that will better align safety management across the network and ensures compliance with The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB).

“I am looking forward to starting my next career chapter, as I’ll be transitioning into a permanent position as a Station Duty Manager at Derby Station.”
In her permanent role, Esther will work to ensure the operational competence of all direct reports as well as maintaining the highest quality of service for EMR’s customers while maximising business efficiencies.

Esther feels as though her Apprenticeship with CIRO and East Midlands Railway has given her the breadth of knowledge to allow her to excel in the rail industry. Esther said: “I’m confident in using what I’ve learnt on the Apprenticeship programme, I’ve gained a wide range of expertise that will help me to achieve my career goals.

“I would like to eventually top-up my Apprenticeship to level 6 and then 7 which is equivalent to a master’s degree, I believe this will open up more fantastic opportunities for me!

“I have also received my NEBOSH General Certificate in Management of Health and Safety, so I would like to continue my study of safety management too.”
NEBOSH stands for the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health.

Since Esther began her Apprenticeship in 2020, CIRO has adapted its teaching methods to deliver course content virtually, she said: “CIRO has been great in keeping online learning interesting and interactive through bespoke workshops. We’ve been able to discuss course work and plan for our careers with our personal tutors easily.”

For Esther, CIRO has been the “backbone” of her learning, providing essential one-on-one support where needed. She said: “It’s been valuable to have someone external to talk to about work, achievements and career aspirations. My Apprenticeship coach has helped me to push the boundaries of my comfort zone and guided me through workload management and career planning.
“I’m truly thankful for the experience I’ve had and would recommend CIRO to anyone looking to pursue a career in the railway industry.”

An Apprenticeship with CIRO provides a unique opportunity for our Apprentices to create their own professional network and form progressive career pathways.

Are you ready to incorporate the knowledge, skills and behaviours required and defined for today’s industry? An apprenticeship is an ideal way to continue your rail operations career, combining study with ‘real time’ on-the-job training.

If you are interested, please click here to view our Apprenticeships.

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