Helping to develop the rail talent of the future has always been at the heart of what TBM Rail sets out to achieve, but seeing one of the firm’s original apprentices fly the nest was a sad moment for many of the staff based at the Crewe HQ.
Formed in 2009, TBM Rail provides passenger comfort services to train operating companies. With National Rail Passenger Survey scores increasingly important, what the engineering firm offers to the rail industry has become increasingly valuable.
In 2011, the management recruited its first business apprentice to help develop the services offered to new and existing customers. Part of that journey involved working in partnership with the local Further Education establishment, South Cheshire College.
Kirsty Walley grabbed the opportunity to team up with a local company, continue her education and pursue a career in the railway industry.
She said: “I found the opportunity on the government apprenticeship website, and as well as starting a really hands-on job I studied Business Administration at the college.
“During my teenage years and even after leaving school I was always keen to work within the rail environment, so finding the opportunity with TBM Rail was ideal for me."
The role was always likely to be varied, with a diverse range of client accounts managed from the unit on the edge of Crewe. Kirsty soon put her business skills to the test and was involved in administration, accounts and helping to develop relationships with partner organisations.
She added: “My first year at TBM as an apprentice was amazing. I gained so much knowledge and enhanced my skills. That enabled me to progress further within the company.”
The value added by Kirsty didn’t go unnoticed, and company director Neil Smith was delighted by the progress made by the young apprentice.
He said: “We knew that expanding the business required fresh ideas and new skills, and that’s exactly what Kirsty brought to the table.
“From day one she listened, learned and took initiative. It was a pleasure watching her develop into the role and become a valued member of the company.”
After five years, and with her working portfolio boasting many accomplishments, Kirsty decided that it was the right time to explore fresh challenges.
In early October she successfully secured a role in the customer service department with Unipart Rail, a company that has maintained a Crewe base for over 100 years.
Neil added: “It’s really sad to see Kirsty move on, but getting a job with one of the rail industry’s most respected companies is a credit to her and the support that TBM Rail gave her.
“We would never hold someone back, and what it does is open up another opportunity for someone else follow a similar path.
“There were a few tears, but we all wish Kirsty every success for the future.”