“I feel like I’m in a place where I belong. Every day is different.”
Operational planner Christiana Kwao is among our many employees celebrating International Women’s Day (8 March) across the railway.
The theme for this year’s event is ‘balance for better’ - raising awareness against bias while highlighting women’s achievements worldwide.
It comes as we aim to increase the proportion of our female workforce to 20 per cent by 2020.
Furthermore, our Strategic Business Plan for Control Period 6 (2019-2024) sets out our plan to increase the number of women in our business by 50 per cent by the end of the Control Period and to have gender balanced recruitment of apprentices and graduates.
As one of Britain’s biggest employers, we have an important role to play in inspiring women.
Acting chief engineer Kamini Edgley is one of our most senior female employees
Among other things, we're encouraging young people to take up subjects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and promoting the wide range of exciting career opportunities on the railway.
Breaking out in the field hasn’t been something that has just happened. So you need to learn to be more resilient. And believe in yourself.
- Kamini Edgley, acting chief engineer at Network Rail
Find out more from some of the women across our business:
Inspire - our employee network supporting women in all business areas of Network Rail to fulfil their potential - will be at the forefront of our International Women’s Day celebrations nationally.
They include talks on the ‘balance for better’ theme, workshops on women in rail and career progression and a session on negotiation skills.
Meanwhile, we’ll take part in careers and apprenticeships events, including Future Female Engineers - an event at Network Rail in Milton Keynes that will give career advice to female undergraduate students.
Meet some of our team...
Amy Anderson, cyber security assurance apprentice at Network Rail
“I thought an apprenticeship might be a good way to get my foot in the door of a business, rather than go to university.
"When I saw an advert come up at Network Rail for a cyber security assurance apprentice, I thought it was a great opportunity to learn while earning money.
“Now 18 months on, I can honestly say that I have learnt so much from both the training side and being immersed in the world of a cyber-security.
“I’m only 20, so am still in the early stages of my career, but I’m so glad that I chose to take an apprentice role. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to get into a specific industry to investigate schemes where you can earn while you learn.
“I feel very lucky that at Network Rail I work with such a supportive and knowledgeable team, and everyone has different skills and experiences to bring to the table.”
Christiana Kwao, operational planner for Network Rail
“After having my second child in 2014, I knew I wanted to return to work but was looking for a job that I could pursue as a career. A friend and I decided to go to a Network Rail career evening one Friday night and see what roles were available.
"I had always been fascinated by the railway and what it takes to get a train from A to B, so I saw the career evening as a perfect opportunity to join the railway industry.
“I knew there must be thousands of people working behind the scenes to help the railway run smoothly, but I never thought that I would have the qualifications and skills to work in the rail industry. But after asking lots of questions about the roles that they offered and what flexible working options were available, I left thinking that Network Rail might be a great place to work.
“I joined Network Rail in 2017 as an operational planner, and with the position came six months of training to fully understand all the planning systems and processes used by the team. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed to start, but at the same time excited to be back in the workplace and learning new skills. I was lucky that my team have been very supportive and welcomed me into the team and answered every question I had so I could get better over time.
“Now two years on I feel like I’m in a place where I belong. Every day is different and there is always something new to learn or a new challenge to resolve.”
Laura Murphy, station manager at London King’s Cross Station
“I joined Network Rail when I was just 23, taking on the role of a customer service assistant at King’s Cross Station. I had just returned from a busy six months working at Walt Disney World in Florida as an attractions host and had no idea what I wanted to do next or the career path. As I’ve always been a people person and enjoyed interacting with the public, I thought it might be a good job for me.
“Working in the rail industry wasn’t something I had ever considered, but now nine years have passed, and I’m still working in rail and have climbed the career ladder to be the station manager at London’s Kings Cross.
“I’m one of the youngest women at Network Rail to be a station manager. Every day around 150 thousand people make their way through the station and I’m ultimately responsible for ensuring they have a great experience while they are here and get safely onto their trains.”