Risk & Value Manager at Network Rail, Visiting Lecturer at Newcastle University
BA in Economic & Social Studies, PhD in History, Diploma in Statistics, International Diploma in Risk Management
David’s former roles include Strategic Planner for the East Coast Main Line (2007-2012), and Tutor in Modern History at the University of Manchester (1998-2001).
Why did you choose to work for the rail industry?
The most attractive aspect was the number of different routes that your career can take. I was working in an entry-level job in project management, but from there I was able to move into strategic planning, and then back to a higher-level role in project delivery. Opportunities were available to retrain as an engineer at some stages.
What inspired you at the time and what influenced your choice?
I wanted a career in which I would be able to indulge many of my interests and abilities, such as mathematics, economics and geography. The variety of work involved in both project and strategic management on the railway allows this, and the generous rewards for career progression are an added incentive to work hard.
How does it feel to be in the rail industry? Are your expectations fulfilled?
The industry has a very high profile in Britain, due to both the problems and successes that have followed privatisation and the national debate surrounding High Speed 2. The extent to which the industry can be made more efficient and whether it can contribute to more evenly-distributed economic growth are controversies that make disciplines such as value management and strategic planning critically important. The railway industry has certainly provided me with the opportunity to get involved in some intellectually challenging work, and I have applied mathematics to engineering as well as economic and management issues. Over the last few years, I have been the leader of a team of five staff, so I am developing people management skills too.
What are the challenges?
The railway industry has certainly provided me with the opportunity to get involved in some intellectually challenging work, and I have applied mathematics to engineering as well as economic and management issues. Over the last few years I have been the leader of a team of five staff, so I am developing people management skills too.
What is a talent? Why the rail industry should engage with talents?
A particular skill for which we are looking in the railway industry is the ability to apply a high level of theoretical knowledge in a practical and effective manner. However, this talent is scarce, and the railway has to compete with other industries for mechanical, civil and electrical engineers, project managers, economic planners, and other professionals. We need to engage with students to show them what a great career working in the railways is, the variety of different roles that you can perform, and that whatever entry point you use there are different paths you can follow in your career.