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Double success for Merseyrail at Cheshire's Best Kept Stations Award event

2 Merseyrail stations have been recognised in the prestigious Cheshire's Best Kept Stations Awards...

Hoylake Station scooped the prize for Best Station, on the Wirral, for a 2nd year in a row, while Meols Station secured the Best Kept Gardens award, having claimed the:- 'In Bloom' title in 2023.

On announcing the Awards, Mark Barker, Chair of Cheshire Best Kept Stations said:- "What volunteers do is amazing; the passion, commitment, ingenuity, resourcefulness and sheer hard work has improved stations for passengers, the community, the railway and for yourselves. Team working, meaningful activities, using your skills, and exercise. Please keep on doing what you are doing!"

The Awards were presented before 170 guests at:- The Grange Theatre, Hartford, Northwich by Professor Paul Salveson MBE, Chair of the South East Lancashire Rail Partnership.

Jan Foster, from The Friends of Hoylake and Meols in Bloom, said:- "The Friends of Hoylake and Meols in Bloom were once again thrilled to receive these prestigious awards for Hoylake and Meols stations. This was the 1st time we were able to attend the awards ourselves and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We take great pride in our stations, and our community is delighted we have once again been honoured."

Hoylake Station was praised as busy and spacious, while being graced with classic art deco design. Attractive and well maintained planters, along with artwork, were highlighted as a particular reason the Station came out on top. 2023 saw the Station look its best as it played host to thousands of golf fans for the Open Championship, played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

Meols was hailed for the work that had transformed a commuter station with skilfully planted beds and planters.

Neil Grabham, Managing Director of Merseyrail, said:- "We are delighted to see our stations recognised for their welcoming appearance and cleanliness. Merseyrail staff work hard across the network to ensure we provide an excellent service to the public, and the appearance of our stations is a huge part of this. We're honoured to work in partnership with local community groups who are so committed and dedicated to making the place where they live the best that it can be. It's a privilege to support them."

Northern's training academies:- 'key to addressing national skills shortage' as rail industry builds future workforce

NORTHERN'S training academies in Leeds and Manchester are key to addressing the national skills shortage facing the rail industry according to a new report by OFSTED.

The regulator made the statement following an inspection of both facilities in which the quality of the education provided and the behaviour, attitudes and apprenticeship offering were found to be:- 'Outstanding.'

Personal development, leadership and management were, meanwhile, declared:- 'Good,' which was also the grade awarded for:- 'overall effectiveness.'

OFSTED's report goes on to say that apprentices, at Northern, benefit from a wide range of career and development opportunities for those who aspire to become managers and leaders within the company.

Lisa Leighton, people director at Northern, said:- "We're delighted with the outcome of the recent OFSTED inspection and I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues in Leeds and Manchester and those based at our depots and TrainCare Centres who support with on-the-job operational training, helping hundreds of apprentices graduate every year. Each and every 1 of those graduates has the potential to be an industry leader of the future; bringing their skills, talent and ideas to the table. The rail industry is an exciting sector to be a part of and there's no better grounding for a successful career than an apprenticeship, which combines classroom learning with on-the-job experience."

Northern was officially recognised by OFSTED as a:- 'Main Provider' on the national register of apprenticeships in July 2022. That status enables Northern to train other train operators' newcomers in the fields of train driving and passenger transport.

In addition to classroom learning, Northern is increasingly using virtual reality technology to provide:- 'real world' scenarios from the safety of the classroom.

In 2023, Northern became a patron of the Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance (Powered by Pathway Group) an organisation that strives to promote social mobility, diversity, inclusion and equity in apprenticeships.

For more information about apprenticeships available with Northern, please visit:- NorthernRailway.Co.UK.

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