The chief booking office clerk at Milton Keynes station, Satish 'Scotty' Kakkad, saw off competition from railway staff across the country to win a prestigious ‘Employee of the Year’ award in 2019.
Scotty has worked at Milton Keynes for the past 34 years, and was recognised for his continued passion, enthusiasm and drive to deliver excellent service to passengers.
He has also been instrumental in helping with local fundraising efforts at the station. Staff from Willen Hospice took the opportunity to thank Scotty for his efforts in supporting over £10,000 of fundraising for the charity over the past 18 months.
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As passengers continue to make their way back to the railway following the Covid-19 pandemic, every member of the London Northwestern Railway family has had to adapt.
Not least is Satish who was eager to share how the station team is contributing to ensuring customers feel safe and comfortable when travelling across the network.
Satish said: "I joined what was British Rail in 1973 as a youngster because my parents felt that it offered me job security and employment for a lifetime. I joined as a Railman in Bolton, it was a huge shock to me to be in a new country, in new surroundings and doing shiftwork. However, I was thankful to be employed and from the beginning, enjoyed my job..
“I moved to Milton Keynes in 1987 and 20 years later in 2007, was appointed to my current role, Chief Clerk with London Northwestern Railway. I am proud to work with such great colleagues and was thrilled to be named Employee of the Year in 2019.”
“My job is to lead the ticket office team, however, there is no such thing as an average day as no two days are ever the same! I could be organising paperwork behind the scenes, helping customers purchase tickets, general customer service or guiding them to locate their train or offering passenger assistance - sometimes you’ll even find me announcing train arrivals over the intercom.”
“After so many years of working on the busy railway, it was very strange when things went quiet during lockdown. However, I was quickly designated as a key worker and my colleagues, and I had to keep services running for fellow key workers and those who had essential journeys to make.
“While safety has always been at the forefront of the company’s ethos, additional measures were put in place regarding cleanliness and hygiene safety. Across the entire business our cleaning processes have been enhanced and we regularly sanitise everything.
“The pandemic also brought about staffing challenges - team members caught Covid or had to isolate because their friends or family members did - so we were all stretched not only doing our own jobs but being flexible and doing other jobs too.
“Throughout this difficult time, managers were great at making sure if we were at work, we were kept safe and well cared for and we all supported each other.
“Throughout all the challenges of the pandemic, I am very proud that we maintained high levels of service for our customers, but I’m even more happy and proud to see our customers returning.”
“During lockdown I took the opportunity to do some volunteering, delivering meals to the vulnerable and working at the vaccination centre. It was so worthwhile, and I really recommend it to everyone.
“I met so many incredible people from all walks of life. It gave me so much satisfaction to help people less fortunate than myself and to be giving back to the community that I am part of. It was so enjoyable - I wouldn’t hesitate to volunteer again.”
“As things are getting back to normal, it’s so wonderful to see our customers returning - it’s like being reunited with old friends. I love being a small part of so many people’s lives and helping them as they go about their day.
“The variety of my days is what I’ve enjoyed my whole career - meeting people, helping everyone access the railway safely, helping them plan their route most effectively - I enjoy it all. The absolute best part of my job though is when my work is appreciated. When a customer feels they have received the best service from me, that’s when I am most satisfied.”