Transport for London
Coordinating all of London’s different transport means is no small task, and that is the job that falls to Transport for London. Created in 2000 by the Labour government and controlled by the Mayor of London, TfL has undertaken a number of schemes in the last decade to improve London’s transport network, including Boris bikes, cycle superhighways, Emirates Air Line cable cars and the upgrading of many tube stations.
Great career progression opportunities and fun work.
Headquartered in Windsor House in the City of Westminster, Transport for London governs and coordinates almost the entirety of London’s public transport network. Responsible for managing London’s buses, Underground, Docklands Light Railway, Overground, Tramlink, river services and its hundreds of kilometres of roads and their traffic lights, TfL oversees 28 million journey stages every year. It’s split into three broad directorates: London Underground, London Rail, and surface transport.
TfL is now under the control of the Mayor of London, but it hasn’t always been that way. During the 1990s the capital’s transport network was managed by London Regional Transport and was considered by many to be in a poor state, with upgrades and maintenance work well over due. As a result, in 1997 the newly elected Labour government pledged to overhaul the network, and created TfL in 2000 to do just that. TfL didn’t actually take responsibility for the London Underground however until 2003, with the service under the control of the Metropolitan Police up until that point.
Since TfL fully took control, the tube network has undergone a number of improvements. None of which has been more visible than the Oyster Card. Introduced in 2003, this innovation allows the tube network’s 1,100 million annual passengers to touch in and out of their journey using a credit card-like ticket. Furthermore, since TfL was founded the number of cyclists in the City has more than doubled, partly due to the increase in cycling lanes and cycle superhighways, but also buoyed by the introduction of the ubiquitous Boris bikes.Read all 58 employee quotes
There is a wide range of options for graduates at TfL, with 15 different programmes that last for two or three years. During this time, grads undertake six-month placements in different business areas before deciding where they’d like to stay after the scheme.
The schemes come under one of four general areas: Rail & London Underground, Surface, Specialist Services and Pan TFL. You’ll only be allowed to apply for one scheme, so choose wisely! All programmes require a 2:1 minimum, although the subject required varies from scheme to scheme.
The Finance Programmes, which graduates can do in a variety of areas, require either a numerate or business related degree. The Engineering Programmes look for BEng or MEng grads that have a degree that’s accredited by the Institution of Civil Engineers. Quantity Surveying, under Project & General Management, looks for graduates with a RICS-accredited quantity surveying degree or post-graduate diploma. These are the main exceptions, with most of the other programmes considering graduates from a variety of degrees.
The ubiquitous online application starts recruitment proceedings with TfL, where you’ll be asked some competency-based questions and have to write about your work experience and degree. Make the grade and TfL will send you a link to a site where you will sit one or more online tests. All schemes’ applicants will be required to take the numerical test, and a few will also face situational judgement tests. You don’t have to complete the test straight away – TfL allows you five days from sending the link – but once you’ve started you’ll have to complete them within the given time. Ace this round and a telephone interview awaits. There will be a fair amount of cross-over with the online application, with the interviewer covering your past work, university experiences and outside interests. There will be competency questions, along the lines of, ‘Tell me a time when…’ You may also be asked the odd technical question or two on aspects of the scheme to which you’ve applied, so do your research.
The final round of TfL’s application process is an assessment centre in London. You will most likely be faced with standard tasks such as a group exercise, an ability test and a written exercise. In the group task, you will be placed in teams and given details of a hypothetical project. Amongst your group, you will be asked to discuss the project and as a team come to a decision as to what to do.
During the assessment day, you’ll also need to give a presentation. The topic will be given to you a week before the assessment centre so you’ll have enough time to prepare. Afterwards, expect ten minutes or so of questions on the topic you delivered. Following the presentation, you’ll face the final hurdle of a competency-based interview with business managers from the area you applied to.
TfL offers students the chance to spend their year in industry with them. The schemes all start in September and you can choose between a range of placements which are due to be announced on the TfL website in February 2013. If you complete one of these placements, you may find your graduate scheme application will be more straight forward as you’ll be fast-tracked to the assessment centre stage if you impress.
Graduate Recruitment Info
No. of employees in the UK: 28,000
Graduate starting salary: £25,000
Student placement: £16,000
Capital Programmes Directorate - Civil Engineering
Electrical Engineering, Power & Signals
Modelling & Transport Planning
Technology and Programmes
Very relaxed office, friendly and helpful team.Graduate, LondonHelpful?
I work an average of 35 hours a week.Graduate, LondonHelpful?
Online Application - read up about what TfL look for in an applicant and word answers to meet this. Telephone interview - will have both competency based questions and a financial question. Have some set answers in mind for particular competencies. Assessment Day - various events including interviews, group discussion and a presentation. Be confident.Graduate, LondonHelpful?
Helping the commercial community within TfL, responding to queries, producing guidance and examples of best practice. Responding to outside influences on TfL's commercial practices.Midlevel, LondonHelpful?