What does it do?

Transport for London (TfL) runs the Tube and bus networks in London as well as the Docklands Light Railway, a short tram-link between Croydon and Wimbledon, and the river buses that take workers and tourists up and down the Thames. The organisation is responsible for managing London's network of main roads, and all 4,600 traffic lights. The Congestion Charge and London's black cabs and private taxis are also part of the empire. TfL is the successor to London Transport, which disappeared in 2000. Political control rests with the Mayor, Ken Livingstone, who can often be seen using the Tube himself between his north London home and the headquarters, near Tower Bridge, of the Greater London Authority, TfL's parent body.

Vital statistics

TfL is one of the capital's biggest employers, with about 25,000 staff. Every day it oversees, among other things, more than six million journeys by bus and three million by Tube.

The office

Head office is in Victoria Street, a stone's throw from St James's Park. There are several other smaller offices spread around the capital as well as the 274 Tube stations.

Is this you?

This year, TfL is recruiting 121 graduates, across all areas of the operation, including engineering, planning and customer services, and what's called service delivery, which sounds like the important bit of the business. There are 14 separate training schemes, with self-explanatory titles, such as civil engineering, transport planning, business analysts and information management.

The recruitment process

Go to www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/graduates for details of each scheme, and for an online "test" that'll help you match your skills and interests to a role. But don't delay; this year's applications, for a September start, close on 19 February. Selection follows a familiar pattern: phone interviews, online tests and an assessment centre. But watch out for the online exercise asking you to describe how you'd tackle a realistic business predicament. In most cases, training lasts two years and features placements (of three to six months) at the sharp end; for example, as a Tube station supervisor, or on the ground with a bus operator. In addition, there's a programme of training in generic business skills, such as IT, management and leadership. During the two years, you'll move from site to site around London.

Top dollar?

Graduates start on £23,000, increasing in the second year depending on performance and progress. They also get free travel on all TfL's buses, Tubes and trains.

Beam me up Scotty?

After three or four years, trainees can expect to be in middle or senior management positions, with real influence over the way the system works day to day.

Who's the boss?

The top job carries the title of Commissioner. The current post-holder, Peter Hendy, first joined London Transport as a graduate trainee in 1975.

Little-known fact

London's first regular bus service, an enclosed stagecoach pulled by three horses, was started 1829.

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