graduate scheme

Rail Commercial Management Graduate

Job description

Our commercial programme will take you on a fast-moving learning journey with one of FirstGroup's leading rail operators. Getting to grips with real-life projects, you'll learn quickly going on a wide range of placements in roles aligned to areas such as train services, marketing, retail, or business management.

Who will I be working for?

The demands placed on transport systems both within and between cities are becoming increasingly complex, and customer expectations for safety and punctuality, value for money, comfort and connectivity are higher than ever.

FirstGroup runs some of the UK's most experienced rail operators, such as GWR, offering all types of rail services, including intercity, commuter and regional trains. Their experienced commercial management team combines a wide range of disciplines including:

  • Business strategy;
  • Marketing;
  • Retailing;
  • Financial and management controls;
  • Human resources;
  • Supply chain management.

Joining FirstGroup as a Commercial Management Graduate you will be provided with the opportunity to operate as part of the commercial team in roles aligned to areas such as train services, marketing, retail, or business management. Progression can be rapid for those who show initiative and who develop opportunities.

What does the programme involve?

Dependent on your strengths, knowledge and abilities, you could initially focus on one of the following three areas:

  • Research: researching specific topics to draft reports and presentations;
  • Analysis: consolidating data, developing themes and insights; and
  • Project delivery: preparing project plans and facilitating timely delivery.

In addition to the above, as you gain more experience you may find yourself involved in:

  • Identifying issues and forming hypotheses and solutions;
  • Presenting findings and recommendations;
  • Developing ideas and negotiating with partners;
  • Managing projects and programmes; and
  • Writing evidenced based delivery plans as part of the project submissions.

Where will I be located?

Ours is an industry that's always on the move. So, you'll need the flexibility to adapt to an ever-changing environment, as you may find yourself on placements throughout our rail networks, for example with GWR, you could be anywhere from Exeter to Paddington or Swindon to Bristol. You'll move around our various commercial functions to ensure you obtain as much exposure as possible to our industry.

What will I receive in return?

We offer a competitive salary, travel benefits, pension scheme, buy as you earn and save as you earn share schemes as well as discount and cash back programmes with high street and online retailers.

We'll also offer you development opportunities which include:

  • Mentoring;
  • Development programmes and courses for continued professional development (CPD) and to develop specific skills, knowledge and abilities;
  • Networking; and if applicable
  • Opportunities to apply for professional training in field of interest that is relevant for your role

What we are looking for

  • To be high-reaching with your sights set on a management role
  • Some solid strategic awareness and the ability to see the bigger picture with strong commercial awareness
  • The ability to build positive relationships and collaborate with your colleagues at every level
  • To have a real customer focus, being able to put the customer at the heart of everything you do to ensure the best customer experience
  • A focus on safety and the importance of ensuring safety for yourself, the customer and your colleagues
  • You don't need any previous experience in the transport industry, just the passion, enthusiasm and curiosity to understand how the business operates and the ability to align yourself with the business goals and values.


You'll need to have achieved or be expected to achieve at least a 2:1 in any degree – though business related degrees are preferable

Accepted degree subjects


Additional job details

UK wide
Competitive salary

plus benefits

How to apply

Successful applicants will undergo a five-stage selection process. Once you have applied, we will invite you to complete some online tests. If you get through these, you'll be asked to undertake a video interview. This may then result in you being invited to an assessment centre, which, if you pass, will lead to an offer for a place on the next graduate programme starting in September 2020.

Click Apply to start your application now. This job will be available on Prospects until 1 January 2020

Don't forget to mention Prospects to employers when you contact them.

Closing date:  1 January 2020

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