Edinburgh trams step up gear as ads go out to recruit drivers

TRAM drivers are being sought to work on the city’s new network, as transport chiefs prepare to begin recruiting the workforce.

Around 12 vacancies are being advertised and it is expected that testing on the completed section of the route will be stepped up.

Training and pilot test runs are currently being carried out between Gogar Depot and Edinburgh Airport, and successful candidates have been told they will be tasked with testing, before going on to work on the completed network from 2014.

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Lothian Buses, which will be formally handed the Edinburgh Trams contract next month, has not asked for specific skills but said candidates should have “developed concentration and communication skills”.

Conductors are expected to be hired nearer the completion of the project in 2014.

Salaries start at £20,000 and rise to £24,000 after 12 to 24 months in the post. The job ad states: “We are looking for people with the right set of skills and abilities to work as tram drivers and work within a team and with key stakeholders to ensure trams are operational for Edinburgh against the current work plan.

“The successful candidate will have the ability and desire to work safely, be flexible and deliver customer service excellence.

“They will also have well developed concentration and communication skills.”

It went on: “During testing and commissioning, the successful candidates will be required to be flexible around what hours they work. However, it is anticipated that this will be five days a week on either a standard work day, early or late shift.

“You will be working in and around the depot or between the depot at Gogar and Edinburgh Airport driving trams during this phase of the project. There is a small team already in place but you will be required to contribute where needed and be flexible about the scope of the role going forward as Edinburgh Trams develop into operation.”

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said: “With tram testing well under way, large sections of the track complete and driver recruitment now taking place, Edinburgh’s Tram project is progressing well. Everyone involved in the project, council, government and contractor, is ready for a productive and successful 2013.”

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At present around four drivers are employed to perform test runs along the 1.7 mile stretch.

As the Evening News reported in July, the fleet of 27 vehicles – the last of which arrived this month – needs to be used regularly because the wheels can become defective if they remain stationary for too long.

Ian Craig, managing director of Lothian Buses, commented: “As Edinburgh prepares to offer residents and visitors an exciting new mode of travel, the tram recruitment process for frontline staff is getting under way, offering exciting career opportunities for local people to become tram drivers and conductors.”