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First Great Western recognised for its investment in people
Tuesday 2 December 2003
Train operator First Great Westerns commitment to providing the best service for customers by offering the best possible development for its staff has been recognised by the Investors in People Standard for its Commercial department.
This is a nationally accredited process, open to all types of company and organisation. The recognition follows a year in which First Great Western has committed £7m for additional staff, training, development and enhanced customer service.
The achievement of the Investors in People Standard follows a rigorous assessment during which staff, managers and directors from all areas of the companys operations were questioned. The assessment also looked at the First Great Westerns plans for the future, to ensure that the training and development of staff will continue.
First Great Westerns Managing Director, Chris Kinchin-Smith said, "The Investors in People Standard demonstrates how highly we value every one of our people. There is no doubt that committed and trained individuals have a huge positive impact on the levels of service we can offer our customers. The process for achieving the Standard is extremely tough, and it shows that we are determined to put the processes in place to support and develop every single one of our 2,600 staff.'
The train operators strategy has led to a clear mission for all staff to help the company become the best train operator in the country and sets out clear objectives for safety, performance, customer satisfaction, staff commitment and finance.
All First Great Western customer-facing on-train staff now have the opportunity to study for nationally recognised National Vocational Qualifications, and 87 per cent of Customer Hosts, who serve in the buffets, Pullman restaurants and provide a First Class at-seat trolley service have volunteered to join the scheme. NVQs are now being extended to train manager and platform staff.
Around 150 frontline managers and team leaders have now graduated from the bespoke "Leaderships Horizons' development programme designed to improve management skills throughout the company.
The Investors in People Standard also examined First Great Westerns Commercial Training Academies in Swansea, Newton Abbot, Bristol Temple Meads, Bristol St Philips Marsh, Reading and London Paddington which provide local training for staff across the region.
As well as the Investors in People Standard, the success of First Great Westerns strategy has also been seen in independent customer satisfaction surveys, in which the company has consistently outperformed the industry.
A recent staff survey has shown that commitment has risen by 7 per cent since 2001, and is the highest among First Great Westerns sister bus and rail companies. Staff perception of other key measures including communication, training and development has also improved.
Chris Kinchin-Smith continued, "Investing in people is not just about what we put in terms of time, money and other resources. Its about the difference it makes to the lives of our employees, our customers and our stakeholders. All the evidence shows that there has been a real benefit with more motivated, can-do staff, and customers who are commenting on the change in service on-board our trains and at our stations.'
The Investors in People Standard comes just weeks after First Great Western uniquely scooped three awards in the Government-backed National Training Awards, and one of its staff was named "Frontline Customer Service Professional of the Year' by the National Customer Service Awards.
First Great Western has also committed to achieving the Standard for its other departments including Operations and Safety, Engineering and Finance.
For further media information please contact Elaine Wilde or Tim Bowcock in the First Great Western press office on 01793 499499. First Great Western press releases can be found on the company website www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk.
First Great Western is one of the UKs leading train companies, providing customers with nearly 200 high speed services across the South West, South Wales, Bristol, the Cotswolds and to London Paddington every day. With over 20 million passenger journeys a year, First Great Western leads the way in providing customers with high quality, safe, reliable and accessible services.
First Great Western is a part of First, the UK-based international public transport operator, which is the one of the countrys largest train operators, the UKs biggest bus operator and the second largest provider of yellow school bus services in the United States. First has the clear vision to ‘Transform Travel and become the number one public transport provider.