From Girlguiding groups to graduates, Network Rail is working with future engineers to encourage more women in the industry.
With International Women in Engineering Day on 23 June 2018, we round up some of the ways we are helping to inspire careers.
The theme for International Women in Engineering Day 2018 is raising the bar – the movement’s aim to encourage all groups, from corporate to educational bodies, to run their own events. Network Rail got involved with talks in Birmingham and Milton Keynes focused on different levels of engineering experience, from junior to senior employees.
Attendees heard about what has inspired female engineers throughout their careers, what drives them to succeed and what flexible working means today.
Loraine Martins, director of diversity and inclusion at Network Rail, said at The Quadrant, Milton Keynes: “We want to have an environment which is much more open and inclusive… to attract people who may not have thought of themselves as working at Network Rail.”
Elsewhere in Birmingham, Annabel Downing, a graduate engineer at Network Rail, launched a local Inspire Network on 22 June. Inspire (pictured) is a group for women and men aimed at creating a fair and supportive environment for people of all genders working at Network Rail.
It’s not just International Women’s Day – it’s also the government’s Year of Engineering. As part of this national effort to promote the sector, Network Rail is teaming up with other organisations and planning future events to bring engineering to the forefront for young people.
In May, Lydia Fairman, a lead capability and development manager, and Apurva Sinha, head of innovation at Network Rail, spoke about innovation in language at the Women into Science and Engineering conference in Manchester.
They discussed how the company is proactively engaging with girls and women, and how team diversity positively impacts the workplace.
Lydia said at the conference: “Career decisions are hard. Young people are afraid they’ll make the wrong choice.
“Girls are less confident than boys to make those decisions. A lot of the work my team does is in the area of early engagement, trying to work with school-age children to teach them about what we do in rail, and why we do it.”
Network Rail, which also exhibited at the event (pictured), has renewed its membership with WISE for another year, and is now a strategic partner.
In September 2017, Lydia’s team plans to hold an event at King’s Cross station to give members of the public who influence young people daily an opportunity to talk to Network Rail employees about what we do behind the scenes.
Did you know children are learning about engineering for an increasingly popular Girlguiding badge? Network Rail is working with consultancy Amey to provide information for an award that teaches girls about civil engineering, including the railways and train stations. Activities include taking a trip on a train, and building bridges and other structures.
Among those helping to roll out the badge are Jill Blundell, a procurement manager, and Emma Hancock, a business change manager for infrastructure projects and a Guides leader in Worcestershire.
Jill’s expertise – and Network Rail’s vision to increase its female workforce to 20 percent by 2020 – helped inform a friend’s local Brownies group. She has also been involved with civil engineering badges for mixed Beavers and Scouts groups in Shropshire and Staffordshire respectively.
Emma said: “It is great to see our Network Rail colleagues developing women in engineering related materials which I can use with my own Guide Group! Watch this space.”