2018 WISE Career Award Winner

Network Rail

Network Rail at Network Rail

Since winning the WISE Career Award Network rail has made improvements against the Women in Science and Engineering ten steps programme for building a framework for increasing gender diversity, moving from 14th to 9th in the rankings of 33 large organisations who took part.

We have refreshed targets as part of our Everyone Matters Diversity & Inclusion strategy for CP6 and are working towards 50% increase in gender diversity by 2024.

Our Anglia route piloted a returners programme in their asset protection and optimisation team. Workingmums.co.uk was utilised to advertise the scheme resulting in 5,000 views and 500 applications. Three women were successfully appointed to roles through the scheme. Other areas of the business are looking to roll this out.

Network Rail have also had a focus on attracting women to the organisation. In the Eastern region, colleagues collaborated with Women in Rail and other large organisations to pilot the Never Mind the Gap initiative. This targeted women who were either not in employment or looking for a career change into the rail industry. The initiative provided them with free training and a two-week work placement to re-ignite their careers and give them experience of what it is like to work in the rail industry. Women on this programme have secured roles at Network Rail. We are looking to roll out further this year.

We have introduced a social media campaign at increasing the number of females following Network Rail’s LinkedIn career page. Candidates who follow a company on LinkedIn are six times more likely to apply for a role with that company and more likely to stay within that company in the future. A LinkedIn campaign which targeted females across several professions ran for three months and resulted in 1,400 new female followers across target areas. This enabled Network Rail to nurture the new followers with engaging candidate-focused content that takes people further along the decision-making process to join us by really bringing the experience of working at Network Rail to life.

As part of a focus on Early STEM engagement Network Rail have created a national programme of competitions, workshops and events to interact with children aged 7-14 and rise their awareness of rail and STEM careers. We have met, or reached, over 150,000 young people in the last 12 months. We have also built and opened a dedicated STEMLAB in our Milton Keynes office, for schools to book STEM workshops (activities include my skills my life), and for us to train employees to deliver school activities and become accredited STEM ambassadors.

Network Rail are working as an industry to develop a careers portal, with access to role model interactions, careers information and materials that will be linked to curriculum learning and have joined Springpod, to allow college and UTC students to view our opportunities and ask questions

As part of the 2019 celebrations of International Women’s Day Network Rail showcased short videos of eight Network Rail women from various roles across the business to show the variety of opportunities available in our organisation. The videos featured on all our social media platforms and reached tens of thousands of people. The videos were also shown in our managed stations, where they could be seen by millions of passengers.

In 2019 Network Rail made a commitment to increase female representation in our apprentices up to 50 per cent by 2024. In the last year we have increased the number of female apprentices from 62 to 105. This is excellent progress, yet we know that there is more work to do in this area to meet our ambitious targets. We know that bringing in more female apprentices who are typically lower paid will increase the gender pay gap. That is why developing our women and ensuring they have opportunities to participate in initiatives and programmes that can help them progress is vital, so that in future we have more women in senior roles.

We have also introduced a career development programme specifically targeted at women in middle management already in the business. This offering was designed to feed the pipeline of female talent for future senior and leadership roles. We cannot rely on external markets to produce the talent we need to run a successful business. It is critical that we continue to invest and ‘grow our own’.

A key recommendation to address gender diversity in our operations and maintenance roles was to provide more adequate welfare facilities for females, because of the negative impact that limited or even a lack of appropriate facilities can have. In Wales a number of improvements have been made including the creation of more female toilets, lockers and a drying room. Work continues with further toilets and shower facilities planned. These improvements are vital because in March 2019 the Wales Region welcomed two female apprentices and a further three in September 2019. The continuing work to provide better facilities for all ensures that our welfare facilities are inclusive. Mobile Wellbeing units being piloted for frontline staff across the organisation and have been shortlisted for an award in the innovation category of the Rail News Award.

Network Rail has introduced high visibility maternity PPE for expectant mothers. This supports our aim of creating a more inclusive environment and diverse workforce where all employees can be safe and comfortable.

Our gender equality network now has over 1,000 members with many regions having their own local groups and leadership teams. The network was nominated for a Women in Rail Award in 2019.

A member of the Inspire Leadership Team were nominated for Inspirational Man of the Year at Women in Rail 2019 awards.

“The offer of flexible working is very attractive when juggling other commitments, whatever they may be. For Network Rail it is a great way to tap into experience. The idea of being able to return back to work, staying involved with my profession on a part-time basis, was very appealing especially with an employer who was actively seeking and supporting this.”
Rachel Thrower, Return to work candidate

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