West Midlands Trains gives jobseekers a helping hand

Travel company joins scheme to provide discounted tickets.

Local rail company West Midlands Trains has welcomed efforts by the UK rail industry to encourage jobseekers to participate in schemes allowing discounted travel to and from interviews and work. The train operator also says it has more plans in the pipeline to help those seeking employment.

As part of the new franchise, West Midlands Trains will be offering jobseekers free travel whilst looking for a job on all its London Northwestern and West Midlands Railway services.

The scheme, due to be introduced by the end of the year, will provide extra support for university graduates and those who have been unemployed for over six months.

Under the new scheme, university graduates or anyone graduating from a higher education equivalent, will be able to claim six free standard return tickets on West Midlands Trains services for travel to and from interviews; and three months’ free travel to and from their place of work after securing a job. The same benefits will be available to any person in long-term unemployment.

Currently the rail industry is making efforts to assist people in getting into work. Recent research by the Rail Delivery Group has revealed low levels of use outside of London and the South East of the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card.

Issued by job centres, this card is offered by all train operators in Britain and gives people claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit a 50 percent discount on rail journeys. Currently, only 28 percent of discounted journeys are made outside London and the South East.

Andy Camp, commercial director at West Midlands Trains, said: “Finding a job can be a very pressured process and the last thing anyone wants is to be worrying about organising travel to and from interviews.

“Our aim with these schemes is to help those who have been out of employment for some time to get back on their feet, and support graduates making their first steps into the world of work. Rail travel is essential for a significant number of people travelling to interviews and commuting for work. The breadth of our network and fast links between towns and cities means that taking a train is often the most efficient way to travel. We’re hugely proud and excited about being able to support our customers in this way.”