“One Day that Changed My Life” – My dream job – from nurse to train driver

Besi Besemar November 6, 2018

In September, a former NHS nurse was featured in the BBC programme One Day that Changed My Life as she trained to become a train driver.

Polly McGillivray and Laura McDonald (right)
Polly McGillivray and Laura McDonald (right)

Recently-qualified train driver, Laura McDonald, was featured in a new BBC series Рabout her journey to become a train driver for Southern Trains.

Determined to break into a male-dominated industry, Laura quit her job as an NHS nurse to begin her rigorous training to become a London train driver for Southern. Women make up just 5.4% of the 19,000 train drivers in Britain, and it had always been Laura’s dream to join them.

She spent twelve years of her professional life as a nurse in the NHS, and although she loved her work, earlier this year she decided to quit her job and pursue her dream career.

One Day That Changed My Life joined Laura on her assessment day, following months of learning, training and preparing for a career on the railways.

Viewers received a unique insight into what it takes to become a train driver, the breadth of knowledge they needed to retain, their training on how deal with a crisis and the strict assessments they had to pass.

Laura said: “I love my job as a train driver and I worked really hard to achieve my dream. You need to focus and concentrate all the time and the safety of passengers and colleagues is of utmost importance. There’s support for women’s development at GTR. Only 5.4% of Britains 19,000 train drivers are women – having more would be amazing and I would hugely encourage more to apply.”

Will¬†Laura¬†have what it takes?¬†One Day That Changed My Life tells the story of a single day that changes the course of people’s lives –¬†¬†dramatic moments that can send lives in one of any two directions.¬†With four stories per episode, the programme showed the run up to real life results moments, culminating on one day that delivers intimate decisions that reflect the audiences lives back to them. Narrated by Jo Joyner, the programme gives the audience intimate access to life changing events as they happen.

Southern trains are pushing hard to make the industry more attractive to female applicants – this year they’re on track for 30% female train driver trainees on Southern, up from 18% last year.

Laura is pictured in the drivers cabin with fellow Southern Trains employee Polly McGillivray, a champion weightlifter and trainee driver trainer whose marriage to her partner Skylar Smith was featured in Gscene last year.