Risk & Value Assistant at Network Rail
BA in Economic & Social Studies, MSc Risk Management, MSc Project and Programme Management
This is my first role post-education. I did work in the fashion industry during my education (gap years and summer holidays) in Accounting, Commercial and Project roles.
Why did you choose to work for the rail industry?
What attracted me to working in Network Rail was the reputation of the Risk & Value team. I had just started my first Masters’ in Risk Management; and in my discussions with lecturers and my research, Network Rail kept coming up as a very good place to work. I subsequently applied for their MSc scheme, and I was hired.
What inspired you at the time and what influenced your choice?
Risk management is something I’ve always been aware of as I come from a family that has been lucky (or unlucky, depending) to have five risk managers including my father. Risk management wasn’t something I wanted to study originally; I started my undergraduate studies wanting to be an investment banker. However, I had a summer of working in Risk and I was hooked almost immediately.
How does it feel to be in the rail industry? Are your expectations fulfilled?
It feels really good. I love the rail industry. It is such a dynamic industry and there are many interesting projects going on to enhance the rail infrastructure into the 21st century. I also think the rail industry is crucial to sustainability in the long run and that is something that interests me a lot. Starting out in the rail industry I did not really have any expectations other than basic human expectations. The railway industry has provided me with the opportunity to learn about engineering and about transport but also afforded me the chance to use my skills and knowledge to be involved in building something lasting.
What are the challenges?
The challenges I suspect are like that of any industry be it aviation or academia. All humans don’t find change comfortable, and in the rail industry, there is a reluctance to change. There is an established way of working and sometimes a defensiveness when the established ways a challenged. Another challenge in the rail industry is the well-documented lack of diversity. It is still a very male-dominated industry as well as a general lack of cultural diversity. These are things the industry leaders are aware of and I think there are workstreams in place to deal with them, time will tell.
What is a talent? Why the rail industry should engage with talents?
Talent is any physical or mental aptitude that can be used as a skill to be to achieve the set goals. That is how I would broadly define talent. I think the rail industry is a multidisciplinary industry which needs a diverse range of skills and talents in order to succeed in transforming and maintaining the railway. The industry is more just engineers or project managers. It requires a lot of different attributes that can be found in various places other than science-related talents. I think the rail industry is beginning to recognise this fact and is engaging more and more with talents irrespective of where they are from, what they studied, gender, etc. This can only be a positive step forward.