About

First Group

FirstGroup plc (FG) is one of the leading transport operators in the UK and North America.

You’ll be joining our 110,000 employees who work hard to deliver vitally important services for our customers.

An experienced UK rail operator

We are one of the largest rail operators in the UK and the only one to run every sort of railway – long distance, regional, commuter and sleeper operations – carrying 140 million passengers in 2015/16. We operate 2 UK rail franchises (GWR and TransPennine Express) and one open access passenger rail service (Hull Trains).

Serving our employees and communities

We value our employees – both GWR and TPE have been awarded the prestigious Investors in People Gold status, and work in partnership with the passengers and communities served. For instance, more than 40 schemes will benefit from GWR’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund, supporting social need in areas we serve; whilst TPE offers half-price travel for jobseekers and 16-18 year olds. In October 2016, Hull Trains was recognised as the UK’s Rail Operator of the Year at the annual National Transport Awards 2016.

How we support our people

In 2015, FirstGroup rebranded FGW as GWR, embracing the heritage of the franchise. We invested £7.5bn in improving the railway and worked hard to instil the new brand’s values and culture, which was focused on being:

  • Proud and supportive of each other as a railway family
  • Committed to our customers and their experience of railway travel
  • Aiming to set and meet the highest standards
  • Accountable for performance
  • Dedicated to safety

To make these improvements a success, it was vital that employees embraced the changes being made to enhance a sense of pride in the railway. GWR involved staff representatives in brand development and launched a ‘Pride and Passion’ initiative to all staff before the brand was shared with customers. It outlined what the new brand stood for and how the changes would be made. The project successfully reinstated one the nation’s most cherished brands, and has been embraced by staff and customers alike.

We think it’s important that those who work for us have a say in the way the company is run. All of FirstGroup’s UK based companies nominate and elect non-executive Employee Directors to represent employee views on the Board.

Our approach has been praised in parliament, with Jim Sheridan MP (Labour) saying ‘Having a representative on the board offers an opportunity for early consultation’, quoting the benefits of two-way consultation and suggesting other companies should model FirstGroup’s success. Jo Swinson MP (Junior Business Minister) agreed that our approach was a powerful testimony to the benefit of Employee Directors to operations.

Assessor and employee feedback indicated leadership delivery and development to be an area for improvement for TPE.

As a result, in 2013 we launched Lead to Succeed – a programme designed to create leaders who inspire staff and reflect the company’s values, provide development in leadership skills, and equip people to deliver change through collaboration and innovation. 170 TPE managers have taken the course, and 92% felt the programme made a difference to them, particularly in the areas such as challenge, accountability and feedback. Staff engagement scores on leadership have also increased by 5%.

The high calibre of TPE’s leadership was cited as the main contributor in achieving Investors in People (IiP) Gold accreditation and becoming the first rail company to win the British Quality Foundation UK Excellence Award 2014. Lead to Succeed has also been accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).