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Rail firm paying train drivers £54k salary 'with no experience needed'

The company is actively looking for all sorts of people, 'from veterans to stay-at-home parents'

Halifax railway station serves the town of Halifax in West Yorkshire, England. It lies on the Calder Valley line and is 17 miles (27 km) west from Leeds.  Platform 2 heads eastbound, towards Bradford and Leeds, while platform 1 heads westbound towards Brighouse, Huddersfield, Sowerby Bridge, Blackpool North and Manchester Victoria. The two routes divide about a mile south of the station at Dryclough Junction.  Credit: Windmill Images/Alamy
If you fancy a career change, you could be on a salary of £54,000 within just over a year. (Alamy)

Times are tough for many jobseekers in the UK, with pay growth falling and the unemployment rate ticking up after the country slipped into a recession.

With experts pointing to a weakening job market, many people would jump at the prospect of embarking on a new career that requires no experience with the potential for an annual salary of £54,500.

Northern Rail is offering just that, with the train operator looking to recruit more than 300 train drivers and conductors this year alone.

"From veterans to stay-at-home parents", the firm is seeking applicants from all backgrounds, including those with no prior rail industry experience, with roles due to be advertised in the coming months in Hull, York, Leeds, Sheffield and other northern towns and cities.

New train drivers with Northern will start with a salary of £23,000 a year, which rise to £54,500 after a 64-week training course at one of the firm's training academies in Leeds or Manchester.

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Conductors will start at £22,000 and progress to £29,000 after a 16-week course. More details on how to sign up can be found on Northern's website.

"We are looking for customer-focused people with excellent communication skills who thrive in a dynamic environment and may not have considered a career in rail before," said Northern's chief operating officer Tricia Williams.

"Successful applicants will demonstrate a high level of responsibility, a strong work ethic and a commitment to maintaining safety standards. We want our workforce to reflect the communities we serve and we’re proud to include people from all walks of life in our team, from military veterans and ex-police officers, to former office workers and stay-at-home parents.”

Needing experience to get a job, and therefore not being able to get a job to gain said experience, is a common anxiety shared by many looking to get ahead in the working world, particularly young people.

However, Yahoo News has spoken to some career experts who say you might be surprised by the opportunities that are out there.

Two railway train carriages under a historic 19th Century metal canopy. A brick wall with arches is reflected in the widows of the carriage.
Northern is looking to recruit more than 300 train drivers and conductors this year. (Alamy)

What are the highest paying jobs in the UK with no professional experience?

“Experience should not be the main barometer for a candidate’s ability to do a job and do it well – it’s all about ability," said Euan Cameron, co-founder and CEO of video interview platform Willo.

"Already we’re seeing many organisations moving in that direction, ditching established practices such as the CV and instead assessing candidates on their potential," he told Yahoo News.

"Not everybody has caught up, however, so in the meantime people have plenty of options if they’re considering a change of career.”

Using Willo's data, here are five of the most popular jobs that don’t require previous industry experience:

  • Firefighter – up to £64,000

  • Personal Trainer – up to £55,000

  • Translator – up to £41,000

  • English Tutor (or language tutor) – up to £45,000

  • Customer Support Advisor – up to £25,000

Khyati Sundaram, CEO of ethical AI hiring experts, Applied, said organisations such as the UK government, Unicef UK, Comic Relief and Penguin Random House UK are moving away from traditional hiring processes and CVs and are instead "switching to skills-based hiring processes that test whether candidates have relevant transferable skills".

“Getting hired for jobs without relevant industry experience isn’t as radical as you might think," she said, adding: "Plus, companies can’t expect candidates to have direct experience of roles that didn’t exist before AI.

"The World Economic Forum predicts that 97 million new jobs are set to be created by the technology. And roles that involve working with AI already account for some of the highest paying and most in-demand jobs right now."

Many high-paying jobs in the UK don't even require a degree, says Rob Phelps, founder of AI career specialists AI Jobs.

He claims 22% of university graduates have taken a job that doesn’t require a degree, while 29% have accepted a role where they earn less than their colleagues without a degree.

Here is AI Jobs' list of highest-paid jobs in the UK that don't require a degree:

  • Web Developer - £75,000

  • Personal Assistant - around £50,000

  • Entrepreneur - Unlimited

  • Personal Trainer - £39,000+

  • Estate Agent £50,000 - £100,000

  • Retail Manager - £100,000