New jobs and skills for over 250 Londoners thanks to Network Rail and Thameslink Programme railway upgrade: Lewes Burton-Bell of Network Rail-2

Thursday 17 Nov 2016

New jobs and skills for over 250 Londoners thanks to Network Rail and Thameslink Programme railway upgrade

South East
  • Over 250 people provided with new jobs or skills
  • 91 jobs for Southwark jobseekers
  • 85 apprenticeships provided for people from Greater London
  • 12 NVQs and 72 short courses achieved by unemployed Southwark residents
  • Career advice provided to young people and jobseekers at more than 32 events

Over 250 jobseekers in the capital have gained new jobs or skills as part of the Thameslink Programme, a multi-billion pound railway upgrade which includes Network Rail’s rebuilding of London Bridge station.

The number includes 91 jobseekers from the surrounding London Borough of Southwark who have found employment with Network Rail and its London Bridge delivery partners across a wide range of roles which include engineers, electricians, project planners, environmental advisors, security officers, and personal assistants.

A further 85 jobseekers from the Greater London area including local to London Bridge station have enrolled onto an apprenticeship and 12 local previously unemployed local residents have gained NVQ qualifications.

Network Rail and its contractors – Costain, Balfour Beatty, Skanska and Siemens – are working towards and, in some cases, exceeding their skills and employment targets to help bring about a better society as well as a better railway.

Heather Spring, from south London, is one of the many jobseekers who has benefited from this initiative. Now working for Balfour Beatty as a personal assistant, Heather has been in her position since January 2016 having previously been unemployed following redundancy. Heather said: “When I was made redundant, I wasn’t ready to retire and when I saw this opportunity I applied straight away. I have always been interested in the railway and I am really enjoying working on such a huge project that will improve commuters’ journeys immeasurably.”

Eighteen-year-old Lewes Burton-Bell, a Network Rail apprentice from Bromley currently working on the vast scheme to rebuild London Bridge station said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me; when other people are finishing university, I’ll have a career.”

Simon Blanchflower, Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme Director, said: “The Thameslink Programme will bring huge long-term benefits to passengers across the south east through to London and beyond to Peterborough and Cambridge. As well as improving the railway, we want to improve communities by providing employment and training opportunities for long-term unemployed people.

“Working on projects that include the redevelopment of London Bridge station and the building of a new railway junction in Bermondsey will open up new opportunities to the chosen candidates. Not only will they have a fantastic opportunity to help build a new railway, they will learn some valuable new skills along the way.”

Councillor Johnson Situ, Cabinet Member for Business, Employment and Culture on Southwark Council, said: “Southwark Council is committed to creating a thriving local economy and reducing long-term unemployment. We’ve set ourselves the ambitious target of creating 5,000 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships of which the Thameslink programme has been an important part. The scheme has helped to upskill local residents through meaningful apprenticeships and supported them into sustainable work.”

The Thameslink Programme is transforming north-south travel through London and delivering brand new eco-friendly trains, better connections to more destinations and more reliable journeys. To find out more, visit


About Thameslink Programme

The Thameslink Programme is  transforming north-south travel through London. When complete in 2018 it will give passengers:

  • New longer and more spacious trains running every 2 to 3 minutes through central London in the peak
  • Improved connections and better options to more destinations on an expanded Thameslink network including Cambridge and Peterborough
  • More robust tracks and state-of-the art signalling and more reliable trains to make journeys more reliable
  • Completely rebuilt stations at Blackfriars and London Bridge

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Alexandra Swann
07734 650735

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Every day, there are more than 4.7 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

We are building a better railway for a better Britain.

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