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David Graham

David Graham
Route Manager, Central Area & Bangor Line
Operations Graduate Programme
" I really enjoyed the diversity of the Programme - there are not many Graduate Programmes where you can obtain a PCV bus licence as well as gain experience in the many departments or the business- bus and rail.
Where did your Translink journey take you?
I started as an Operations Graduate in October 2006. In 2009 I was appointed to the position of Assistant SDM, Europa Buscentre until July 2013 when I was successfully appointed to the position of NIR Route Manager, Central Area &Bangor Line.
What qualifications do you have?
I have a BA (Hons) Business Management and an MA (Hons) International Business Management . Since I joined Translink I have also attained a Drivers CPC, Management CPC, International CPC, EFQM Assessor qualification and will soon be an accredited Green Belt 6-Sigma Practitioner
What did you think about the recruitment process and assessment centres for the Training Programme?
I thought the recruitment process was extremely thorough. At the time I applied there were 150 candidates and I was one of only four who were successful. The assessment process was quite varied - there were verbal and numerical tests, a scenario's assessment, an interview and a presentation.
This is the one opportunity to impress so I would stress the importance of preparing well for the assessments and interview, and ensure you stand out during the process.
Translink has excellent opportunities for those seeking a career in operations, engineering, clerical or management.
Translink offers a Graduate Training Programme for our Operations and Engineering Graduate Training Programmes
What did the Programme involve?
I had about 10 placements across the business in bus, rail, engineering, HR, Marketing, to name a few. The Programme involved a lot of job shadowing during which time I asked many questions as there was a considerable volume of information to take in. I was also able to take part in project work which I really enjoyed. The Programme enabled me to build working relationships and develop networks across the business which has proved invaluable. Some placements were quite lengthy, particularly in my second year where I ran both Coleraine and Magherafelt Bus Depots for a period and this gave me excellent experience of supervising and managing staff; however, it did involve me having to travel to these locations and stay in hotels and B&B's and whilst I didn't mind doing this as I knew it would be required, this is a feature of the Programme that may not suit everyone.
What support/mentoring were you offered whilst undertaking the Programme?
On-going support is provided throughout the Programme. I shadowed an experienced manager who mentored me throughout the Programme, and I had periodic assessments with the Programme Director for which I had to write detailed reports on how I was finding the Programme and provide feedback on the business. I was also assigned a member of the Executive team as an advisor and was able to bounce ideas off him.
What opportunities opened up to you as a result of you undertaking the Programme?
You need to seize employment opportunities as they arise - you will not be handed a job at the end of the Programme. My time managing the bus depots was extended due to business requirements and this enabled me to broaden my experience in managing busy bus depots. Following that, I was successful in obtaining a permanent post in Europa Bus Centre as an Assistant Service Delivery Manager.
Welcome Aboard Video
Do you have any specific achievements as a result from undertaking the Programme?
I delivered a high-value project of introducing Wi-fi onto buses. I was Project Manager for this project for a 4-year period, and responsible for a significant budget. I also introduced on-line booking for the Dublin Express service, enhanced the timetable and rebranded the service.
What are your future career aspirations?
Aim high. I am keen to broaden my experience so will continue to seek out opportunities for career progression to more senior roles when they arise.
What advice do you have for those considering applying the Graduate Training Programme?
This is a worthwhile Programme and provides an excellent opportunity to go through a detailed assessment process and test your skills and abilities, and taste what it is like to be a manager in a large successful business. However, you will be competing against other candidates both internally and externally so you need to ensure you stand out from others and demonstrate the key qualities required to be offered a place on this Programme.
Career Development
Translink offer excellent career development opportunities which you can apply for on a temporary or permanent basis. Training and development is also available, including developing personal development plans.