Karen Paton - Women in Rail Award Winner

Double success for Avanti West Coast at the Women in Rail Awards 2021

Avanti West Coast  picks up Best Apprenticeship Scheme whilst Glasgow Onboard Manager is awarded 'Women in Rail'.

  • Glasgow Onboard Manager Karen Paton awarded prestigious ‘Women in Rail’
  • ‘Lead the Way’ campaign picks up ‘Best Apprenticeship Scheme’
  • Awards showcase those who have made a significant contribution to improving gender balance in UK rail

Avanti West Coast has been honoured at the prestigious Women in Rail Awards 2021.Onboard manager Karen Paton and the train operator’s Talent Management Team both walked off with top awards at the event, which aims to showcase individuals and companies who have made a significant contribution to improving gender balance, equality, diversity and inclusion in the UK railway industry.

Karen, who is based at Glasgow, was the proud recipient of ”Women in Rail Award” which recognises someone who has gone above and beyond their day job to support others – individuals or communities – during the pandemic.

At the outset of the pandemic, and mindful of the impact on her local community, Karen came up with the idea of making boxes of supplies that were distributed to local hospitals and care homes. Struck by the positive feedback, the idea was extended to the Anglo Scottish rail route, with parcels sent by trains to other stations down the line, liaising with her colleagues for distribution to local communities.

Not content with helping her local communities, Karen also created a video for her 3,500 plus Avanti West Coast colleagues to encourage simple acts of kindness to help raise a smile, highlight our willingness to help each other, keep positive and stay motivated.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed if I’m honest,” explained Karen. “Whilst my name is on the award, its more about teamwork, and how we have all stuck together to deal with the challenges of the last 18 months.”

The judges recognised Karen’s exceptional contribution to others, demonstrating outstanding kindness, care and compassion whilst acting as an inspiration to others.

‘Best Apprenticeship Scheme’ went to Avanti West Coast’s The ‘Lead the Way’ campaign. Developed by the Talent Management Team, the programme was created to help re-energise our people following a tough year and to provide self-development opportunities to support career progression.

The judges acknowledged a strong and successful apprenticeship scheme that had received positive internal as well external feedback. They also recognised evidence of a real improvement in apprentices’ career progression within Avanti West Coast.

Emily Hall, Quality and Apprenticeship Manager at Avanti West Coast said: “The Best Apprenticeship Scheme Award is a celebration of the value that apprenticeships can bring to our business and our people. This award is not just for the Talent Team but for every apprentice undertaking an apprenticeship programme who is working hard to self-develop and meet their career goals.”

Phil Whittingham, Manager Director at Avanti West Coast, added: ““We want our people to represent the communities we serve, so its great news our Lead the Way campaign has been recognised for taking positive steps in addressing diversity and inclusion.

“And in Karen we have a real superstar. She’s a credit to us all and her award is well deserved.”

Caroline Donaldson, Managing Director for West Coast Partnership Development, was also shortlisted for the Inspirational Woman of the Year Award.

Contact Information

Richard Stanton

Avanti West Coast


Notes to editors

About Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast, operator of intercity rail services on the West Coast Main Line, is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, delivering a cleaner, greener railway that drives the West Coast forward.

We’re on a mission to revolutionise train travel, linking together the towns and major cities of the UK to create an iconic railway the country can be proud of. We’ve got big plans including a fleet of new intercity trains, as well as the complete refurbishment of the existing Pendolino train fleet. We will introduce more train services every week with new routes added, and a much-improved onboard service with enhanced free Wi-Fi, plug sockets, 25,000 brand new seats and improved catering. Since 8 December 2019, passengers have benefitted from improved passenger compensation, available for journeys delayed by just 15 minutes.

For the latest news, visit the Avanti West Coast Media Room: https://newsdesk.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/

Press Office: 0845 000 3333