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HomeCareersWorking for usHelping to dispel the myths of a career in rail

Helping to dispel the myths of a career in rail

As the rail industry continues to grow, so do the opportunities for an exciting career. This industry offers so much: there are roles in project management and engineering, financial careers in commercial and quantity surveying, and paths people don’t expect - including roles for designers, planners and bid writers.

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The rail sector opens doors for so many. The myth that it is a male-only environment is being debunked, as more women join the industry and we all take the steps needed in making this an inclusive sector for all.

As well as being a member of the rail industries Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Charter, VolkerRail is also a key sponsor for a new programme - Routes into Rail - that aims to highlight the wide range of exciting opportunities within the rail sector, and showcase industry role models, to help change perceptions of what a career in rail looks like.

Last month, Andrew Fawkes, VolkerRail’s signalling engineering manager, was a guest speaker at Routes into Rail’s National Apprenticeship Week webinar. Andrew spoke about VolkerRail’s engineering apprenticeship programme, the opportunities available post-apprenticeship, and other apprenticeships at VolkerRail, including project management, commercial and planning.

With an audience of over 800 people, the event was a great opportunity to showcase VolkerRail apprenticeships, to encourage young people to consider a career in rail, and to promote how inclusive the industry has become.

Andrew knows first-hand the benefits of an apprenticeship, having joined the industry through an apprenticeship programme over a decade ago. He said: “An apprenticeship is great; you get to earn and learn, whilst building a career or starting a totally new one. I am proof of how an apprenticeship can serve you well.

“If you’re looking for a kickstart to your career or a new challenge, you should take a look at the rail industry. It’s a great industry to work in, and we are always looking for talented, problem solving, enthusiastic individuals who are willing to work hard to deliver the best railway network for commuters.

“I would also add that we strongly encourage everyone, regardless of gender, race or religion, to look at taking apprenticeships. Right now, I think people aren’t aware of how exciting a career within rail is, but I think a lot of this is down to people not knowing how open we are, and myths on how things work. This was evident at the Q&A section of the event, when I was asked a question as to whether women could do railway engineering work due to requirements for heavy lifting? The way we work now is to create innovative working methods using machines, and it was a great opportunity to explain away the misconception that there is a requirement to be physically strong to have a career in engineering. These conversations also help to remove any fears that exist, as we really need people in the industry who will challenge and innovate with delivery methods, to ensure our teams are safe from the risks presented by manual handling of heavy components. 

“The rail industry is crying out for a more diverse workforce, whether as project managers, designers or engineers. I feel people from different background bring new skillsets to the team and new approaches to problem solving.

“I’m a huge advocate for the rail industry, so please get in touch, if you wish to know more about my story, or to learn more about the apprentice opportunities coming up in VolkerRail this year.”