Three TRU apprentices in running for major rail industry awards: YRP Nominees-3

Thursday 8 Feb 2024

Three TRU apprentices in running for major rail industry awards

TRU apprentices Oliver Cann, Bethany Draper and Asher Thomas have all received nominations for the 2024 Young Rail Professionals Awards.

As TRU celebrates National Apprenticeship Week, the multi-billion-pound rail upgrade between Manchester and York has seen three of its young team members’ contributions recognised nationally.

Oliver Cann, Bethany Draper and Asher Thomas, who are all apprentices on TRU, have been nominated in the the Young Rail Professionals Awards. Oliver and Bethany are both up for the Young Rail Professionals’ Apprentice of the Year Award, whilst Asher has been nominated for Young Rail Professional of the Year.

The Young Rail Professionals Awards ceremony is an annual celebration recognising the achievements of professionals within the rail industry at varying stages of their careers. Spread across eight categories, winners are chosen by a judging panel and announced at the annual dinner in London.

Oliver Cann (24) has been part of the TRU team for over 18 months – from consents and surveys to utilities and development projects, his role as Apprentice Planning Assistant means he plays a vital part in the progress being made on the route between Leeds and Church Fenton.

His dedication recognised, Oliver said:

“I’m proud to have received this nomination and grateful for the support I get from everyone on the team who’ve always given me opportunities to learn new skills and put them to use.”

Commercial Apprentice, Bethany Draper (20), joined the Transpennine Route Upgrade in September 2022 – her involvement in the commercial and procurement processes on the route between Mossley and Slaithwaite includes cost management and reporting, applications and certifications as well as governance and tendering.

Bethany stated a key influence on her decision to take on an apprenticeship as opposed to the more commonly taken university path was that "’re able to establish your career at a very young age and network with people."

“They say it’s not what you know, but who you know, and I think apprenticeships give you a big head start in that.”

Upon receiving her award nomination, Bethany added:

“It’s symbolic of how TRU values the hard work of their apprentices – I put in a lot of effort, aim to add as much value as I can and feel as though my team recognise this. I’m really lucky to be influenced by such amazing people!”

Asher Thomas (29) is a Designated Project Engineer for TRU, responsible for all engineering technical assurance of the designs and delivery of the programme.

Part of the TRU team since 2017, Asher joined through the Network Rail Graduate Scheme as a Civil Engineer – a path that eventually lead him to the role of Engineering Manager – he is now undertaking a Departmental & Operations Management apprenticeship to further his abilities in leading and managing teams.

With his endeavours acknowledged, Asher is keen to stay on track:

“It’s an honour to be nominated for Young Professional of the Year and to be recognised by peers in the industry for my efforts.

“I’ll continue to hone my skills through my apprenticeship to be a better manager and leader in the future.”

These are just three stories out of over 250 – as of National Apprenticeship Week 2024, TRU is fast approaching the halfway mark of our ambitions to bring on 590 apprentices and the successes of Oliver, Bethany and Asher embody our commitment to the TRU Social Values. 

Notes to Editors

We’re transforming journeys across the North, better connecting towns and cities through more frequent, faster trains, running on a cleaner, greener and more reliable railway.

TRU will bring better journeys for passengers:

More trains to choose from and more seats. Our improvements will enable more trains to run between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York with up to six fast services every hour between Leeds and Manchester and up to two stopping services for local connectivity.

Faster journeys so you can travel to your favourite towns and cities more quickly. Our fastest journey times are forecast to be 63-66 minutes between Manchester and York and 41-42 minutes between Manchester and Leeds.

More reliable journeys with trains that run on-time.

Better stations across the Transpennine route, bringing passengers a better travel experience through improved, more accessible station.

Greener travel, reducing our carbon footprint and improving air quality. Our plans aim to save up to 87,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year – supporting the government’s Net Zero objectives. We’re also developing a proposal to move more goods by rail (up to 15 more freight trains each day), taking lorries off the road. Together, these freight trains are expected to remove over 1,000 lorries off the road each day.

TRU will bring local communities:

Jobs for local people. Our workforce will be local, with 80% employment from within a 40-mile radius of the route, and 60% employment from within a 25-mile radius.

 Improved natural environments near the railway through 10% biodiversity net gain across the route. This will create or enhance habitats for wildlife.

Contact information

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

Latest travel advice
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Ewan Bayliss
Communications Executive
Network Rail

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.

Usually, there are almost five 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.

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