Industrial psychologists help Virgin Trains ensure new staff stay on right track

Virgin Trains has brought in a team of industrial psychologists to lead ‘vision workshops’ at its new purpose-built talent academy.

Launched last week, the Crewe-based academy will serve as the central site for training and development at Virgin Trains, according to HR director Patrick McGrath. It is expected to deliver 2,300 training days during 2008 and will house a permanent talent team of 23, charged with looking after recruitment, training and career development.

McGrath told Personnel Today that the new academy would house the bulk of the company’s vision workshops – a cultural change programme covering all Virgin Trains staff.

“They’re led by a team of industrial psychologists with our people involved as co-facilitators, and will encourage people to think about work in a different, more creative way to get them to realise their potential,” he said.

McGrath added that the academy would be used not only for front-line workers, such as customer service assistants and train managers, but to deliver development programmes for the Virgin Trains management team.

New facilities will also include a recruitment assessment suite, a small learning centre for people studying online, and an emergency response suite where Virgin staff and those from other rail companies can be trained to deal with major incidents.

Starters at Virgin Trains will spend their first few weeks at the academy, while new train managers will see out 10 weeks there before beginning their role.

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