Alstom apprentice named Young Professional of the Year in Rail Business Awards 2024

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  • Supply Chain Apprentice, Fran Coult, recognised as “the most outstanding young professional working within the UK rail industry”

  • Accolade comes in the same month Alstom announces 36 new apprenticeship roles across the UK

26 February 2024 Alstom, global leader in smart and sustainable mobility, is celebrating after Supply Chain Apprentice, Fran Coult, was announced as a winner at the Rail Business Awards 2024. She has been awarded Young Professional of the Year, which recognises the most outstanding employee under 35 within the UK rail industry.

Now in its 26th year, the Rail Business Awards recognises and rewards excellence in every aspect of the UK industry, from daily operations, safety and customer service to technical innovation and major projects. As the longest-established national awards for the UK rail sector, the honours are designed to celebrate the many individuals and companies whose vision, innovation and commitment help to shape this industry.

"I look forward to continuing to shape my career in rail and push for further positive changes across equality, diversity and inclusion within the industry."

Fran Coult
Supply Chain Apprentice at Alstom

The 23-year-old from Ecclesall in Sheffield started her role at Alstom in September 2020 and has been working across multiple facets of the rail company’s supply chain, including logistics, customer service, improving working practices and driving efficiencies.

Despite being the youngest entrant in the Rail Business Awards this year, the judges commented that she had already demonstrated both breadth and depth in her role, along with a willingness to adapt, learn and inspire.

During her time at Alstom, she has developed a new operational strategy that led to the company investing £3 million to improve delivery performance, while she has also secured substantial savings by implementing new processes to better monitor stock holdings and usage.

More recently, Fran’s creative flair has been put to further use, as she has supported the Alstom Communications team across their wide portfolio and responsibilities. For example, she has organised media visits to Alstom sites and overseen broadcast documentary shoots featuring the organisation. She also writes internal updates to staff and curates the local X – formerly known as Twitter – social media feed.

The Rail Business Awards 2024 took place on Thursday 22 February November at Hilton Manchester Deansgate.

“I am truly honoured, and it is a fantastic recognition of the achievements I have made since I joined this amazing industry. Dealing with different challenges and stakeholders, my personal and professional development with Alstom throughout my apprenticeship has been vast. I look forward to continuing to shape my career in rail and push for further positive changes across equality, diversity and inclusion within the industry,” said Fran Coult, Supply Chain Apprentice at Alstom.

Prior to joining Alstom, Fran studied a BTEC in Business and Law at Sheffield College and worked as key worker at her local Co-op supermarket during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Level 6 (degree) apprentice at Alstom, she is working towards a BA (Hons) Professional Practice in Supply Chain at Sheffield Hallam University and is expected to graduate later this year.

“Fran’s thirst for knowledge, passion for rail, ability to troubleshoot and resolve complex challenges, and dedication to creating positive change is truly inspiring. She has already achieved much more than is expected from an apprentice and is a great role model to those around her and to future cohorts of trainees,” said Alison Knight, Head of Talent at Alstom.

Fran is a passionate science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) ambassador and is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the rail sector. For example, she recently spearheaded a period care campaign with Alstom’s Voices of Women employee resource group, which included the rollout of free feminine hygiene products across the company’s UK sites.

“Fran has always been the first person to put her hand up for an activity or a task and this has provided her with many opportunities to continually grow her knowledge and stature in our wider organisation. From an early stage it was clear Fran could engage in complex problems with senior stakeholders and, using her people skills, has generated numerous positive outcomes for our business,” said Geoff Elton, Supply Chain Director at Alstom.

Apprenticeships at Alstom

Fran’s win at the Rail Business Awards comes two weeks after Alstom confirmed 36 more apprenticeship roles will be created across the UK this year in areas such as supply chain, engineering, and project management.

Apprenticeships at Alstom offers trainees the chance to earn while they learn. Alongside their day job, apprentices will spend at least 20% of their working hours undergoing learning at university or college, additional training and studying. The new cohort is expected to start working at the company from September.

As the country’s foremost supplier of new trains and train services, and a leading signalling and infrastructure provider, Alstom has around 6,000 employees in the UK and Ireland, who are based at 37 sites. Alongside apprenticeships (from Level 2 to 6) Alstom also offers a postgraduate apprenticeship (Level 7) and a two-year graduate programme, as well as work experience in a number of functions.

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