Are the Tracks Lined with Gold for Train Drivers Abroad?
For those who are fascinated by trains and enjoy driving, there is nothing better than a career in train driving. Train driving can be the perfect profession for those who enjoy the thrill of driving a large vehicle, do not mind solitude and would like the security of a reasonably well paying job. The demand for train drivers within the UK increased sharply once the railways were privatised. But given the demand for train drivers in certain locations abroad, could British train drivers find attractive opportunities to work internationally?
Train drivers can drive passenger trains, including over ground rail as well as the tube, freight trains, on local and national rail networks. Drivers can also work with a maintenance crew, pulling repair and engineering equipment for rail repair work. This is true in the UK and most other places in the world.
Train drivers must be able to concentrate over long periods of time, have the composure and confidence to deal with unexpected problems or issues on the spot, and good customer service skills, when required. To be a good train driver, one must have a calm and composed personality and enjoy being alone for prolonged periods while driving the train.
- There are no formal qualifications, apart from the professional training obtained on the job and usually a good overall level of education is sufficient to get started within a company.
- Getting promoted is the most common way to rise up to the level of driver within the company.
- The UK does not recognise qualifications or credentials from other countries.
Work hours for train drivers depend on the type of job, but generally the normal work week can consist of about 35 – 40 hours. Salaries depend on the employer – but can range from around £18,000 for trainee drivers to about £48,000 for senior drivers. Other benefits may include pensions, discounted travel with the company etc.
There is growing demand for train drivers from the UK abroad, specifically in Australia.
- The need for train drivers began a few years ago when the natural resources boom in Australia gave rise to an increased need for workers, including train crew.
- Western Australia in particular is abuzz with huge levels of activity, especially in mining, where train drivers are in short supply, and therefore receive exceptionally good pay.
The average wages for train driving in Australia are supposed to be more than in the UK, but it is within the mining region in the west, where drivers can receive excellent offers that include a home, fourteen days in the month off and close to $9000 (ASD) per month.
That adds up to a huge annual salary, which no employer in the UK could ever match.
- The main concern for British train drivers to live and work abroad is obtaining the right to live in the country.
- Due to the shortage in Australia, train drivers started being invited to work in the country about two years back.
- Applying to job positions aimed specifically at British drivers is an easy and convenient way to work abroad.
The fact is that the average pay in places like Australia or North America may be more than in the UK. However, working abroad can be difficult given the legal requirements. Although, applying to specific calls for drivers can be a great way for train drivers, to explore a new place and take advantage of attractive pay and benefits.