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

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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