Ex-Thomas Cook staff enjoying new career journey with Great Western Railway

Great Western Railway (GWR) has recruited more than 30 ex-Thomas Cook staff after appealing to employees of the collapsed travel company.

GWR tweeted its condolences to staff in the wake of Thomas Cook’s collapse in September and said it was on the lookout for customer hosts, inviting cabin crew and ground staff to apply.

Human resources director Ruth Busby said GWR’s recruitment team realised an opportunity after the airline’s collapse.

Ruth said: “We saw the commitment they were making to their customers on that last day, staying out and making sure everyone got home all right.

“They were providing great customer service, and a member of our recruitment team thought we should offer them our support.

“Our tweet that we put out reached 500,000 people and dramatically increased the traffic to our recruitment website.”

Sian Pike will be joining GWR as a customer host in April. She worked for Thomas Cook for 26 years and was an airline cabin manager.

Sian said: “My life had been flying, and suddenly it was ripped away from me, leaving me feeling really numb. I used to tell passengers I’d be flying until they kicked me out.

“After the collapse I applied to several airlines, because my heart said, ‘I need to keep flying’, and it was overruling my head.

“I then thought I would try GWR since there were parallels with my flying career – safety, customer service and the irregular hours. I really loved getting up at 2am for a customer service role so this job is perfect for me.”

Jamie Iaquaniello rang GWR the morning after he was made redundant and started training to become a customer host three weeks later.

He said: “At first it was strange, but I enjoyed the challenge of learning new things again.

“The good bits from aviation are also in rail – the camaraderie, it’s all laughs and jokes – and people were really supportive.

“I’m one of the lucky ones. So many people are still trying for aviation jobs and they won’t start until March – and some airlines don’t even pay for training.”

Photo credit: First Group