"Being A Station Assistant At London Victoria Is Different Every Day"

By Londonist Last edited 10 months ago
"Being A Station Assistant At London Victoria Is Different Every Day"

Najla Almutairi, 27, is a station assistant on the platform at London Victoria. She's also a Young Ambassador for The Prince's Trust and hopes to inspire other young people to overcome challenges in their lives.

Najla dispatches a train at Victoria

Being a station assistant at London Victoria is different every day...

I’m always meeting new people and a big part of my role is helping passengers with queries or accessibility needs. I also dispatch trains. Working shifts means I could be on the station floor very early, or late into the evening.

I help passengers find lost items on the train...

People lose everything, from something as small as a house key, to a piece of luggage, as well as important things like passports or bank cards. This job keeps me on my toes! It becomes a personal challenge, it's like a puzzle trying to work out which train, which stock, train times and train numbers. Using this I can establish the train’s destination then ring ahead and get the station to look. This is really time consuming but it’s worth it to help customers reunite with important belongings.

Image: Shutterstock

Earlier this year I helped an elderly couple reunite with a bag and their house keys...

Delivering customer service likes this makes me so happy! But my proudest achievement at work is playing a key role in ensuring trains are on time and getting recognised for the part I play in this from our Control Point at Victoria.

I first moved to London when I was 16...

...with my mother when she secured a scholarship to study a PhD, and it became our home. I studied alongside her, completing my secondary school, college and university education in this vibrant city. When I was studying for my architecture degree my mother became devastatingly ill with a spine condition, and I took over as her full-time carer. It was a life-changing and heart-breaking moment to see the strongest person in my life becoming weaker day by day.

I kept up studies alongside this new role and managed to get a degree in Architecture, as well as holding down various jobs and looking after my younger siblings. For a year and a half after graduating I worked part-time doing a whole variety of part time, local jobs. I often worried about the future and what I wanted to achieve and must admit I felt intimidated at the thought of working at a large organisation.

Image: Shutterstock

The prospect of working full time and looking after my mother played on my mind...

...and I would often postpone plans, reassuring myself that ‘when things get better, I will start my career.’ I kept waiting for the right moment before I realised that sometimes, there just isn’t one.

I didn’t know where to start when looking for a job...

I didn’t even have a CV. My sister recommended getting in touch with The Prince’s Trust but I was hesitant at first and didn’t think I wanted help. When I eventually decided to get in touch, I was given different opportunities, from starting my own business to studying and training for a job. I then secured my place on the ‘Get Into’ programme in partnership with Govia Thameslink Railway, as a trainee station assistant in February 2018. I spent two weeks in a classroom learning all about the industry and practise, and then a two-week placement on the station floor. That May I was offered a permanent, full time role, and my career journey started.

Being a station assistant gives me enough flexibility to still be there for my mother...

...and make sure she has had all her vital medication in the morning, and we often sit and have breakfast together before I go off to work.

I enjoy every day working on the railway, and love being part of our team and assisting passengers. My ambition is to progress into a management role and develop further leadership skills to inspire and support more young people; I was recently selected to be an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and hope I’ll be able to a positive same impact on people’s lives.

For more information, visit The Prince's Trust website

Last Updated 11 October 2019