Network Rail calls on more women to join rail industry

Jordanna Mills

Network Rail has launched a new recruitment campaign to inspire more women to join the rail industry.

The targeted campaign is aiming to fill roles across Network Rail’s Southern region – which includes south London, Kent, Sussex and parts of the South-west – that have a disproportionately low percentage of female colleagues.

Women remain significantly under-represented in roles such as signallers and maintenance operatives where they average 11% and 2% of the workforce respectively. This compares to 10% and 1% in the same roles nationally across Network Rail.

This year’s campaign, which focuses on embracing fairness and levelling the playing field, features female colleagues from across the Southern region who are currently working in those roles to inspire other women to join the historically male-dominated industry.

Across a number of Network Rail’s busiest stations in the Southern region including London Waterloo and London Victoria, the campaign is being publicised through posters which contain pictures of female colleagues working in under-represented roles. 

A number of case studies and features on these colleagues have also been published on the Network Rail website to highlight to potential candidates what it’s like for women to work in these roles.

Jordanna Mills, 22, from Ashford in Kent, is a senior technical officer who works as part of the maintenance team and is one of the many women working at Network Rail.

She said: “My team primarily investigates any faults on the railway that need fixing. Once a fault is reported, it’s up to my team to survey, design and implement a repair scheme using either a tamper or stone blower machine. 

“We play a vital role in making sure the railway remains safe, reliable, and efficient for everyone.”

Mills says she “absolutely loves” the maintenance side of her job.

“I’m fully involved in improving our track conditions at each stage. 

“I also enjoy the variety of the job. I work closely with the teams out on track maintaining the railway, and with various engineers solving larger problems. It gives me the tools and experience I need to progress my career. 

“I would recommend anyone to take the plunge and apply for a role within maintenance at Network Rail. It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. 

“I am extremely passionate about promoting women and young people in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. I’m also keen to promote non-conventional routes into further education including apprenticeships. All these things weren’t talked about when I was at school.”

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s managing director for Southern region, added: “We’re really pleased to see the rollout of this new recruitment campaign.

“Network Rail aims to recruit from the widest possible pool of talent and tries to appoint the very best people for the job and we’re aware that in certain roles there is an imbalance in diversity.

“It’s important for us to create an inclusive environment, increasing the diversity of our colleagues which in turn attracts more talent into the industry. We must cater for everyone, not only by embracing diversity but also embracing diverse views which will make us better at what we do.”

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