Last Thursday saw over 70 graduates, apprentices and students travel from all over the UK for the first Rail Forum Midlands Entry Talent Summit at Nottingham Trent University. Delegates took part in a series of interactive sessions hosted by speakers from Rail Forum member companies. Chris Swan, Tarmac’s Head of Rail kicked off a series of interactive sessions and introduced delegates to Tarmac’s national rail operation, asking them to look at some of the most prevalent hurdles faced by rail freight today, and present their proposed solutions.
Network Rail’s Senior Programme Manager, Richard Brown then gave guests an insight into the challenges and opportunities of digitisation; from cyber security to integrated transport. Richard then tasked the delegates with outlining how technology might be utilised to tackle some of customers’ current travel frustrations. East Midlands Trains’ Emma Davis then hosted a customer experience quiz and awarded the winners a pair of complimentary first-class rail tickets each.
Following a networking lunch, Elastacloud’s Gary Hunter discussed how artificial intelligence, algorithms and data analytics can be applied to the rail industry and asked delegates to team up to discuss how these could improve the railway experience of the future. Next HS2’s Osita Madu and Mark Dyer explored diversity and inclusive design; before setting the delegates the challenge of devising their own vision of a washroom suitable for all levels of ability and mobility.
The final session was hosted by Progress Rail Principle Engineer, Morven Harrison. Morven gave an inspiring presentation on her role at Progress Rail Services; following projects from conception to installation, and advising delegates on the training she sees to be in demand and the programmes she uses day-to-day.
Employers were then invited to join their graduates, apprentices and students for the keynote address delivered by Lilian Greenwood MP. Lilian discussed her new role as the Chair of the Transport Select Committee and some of the priorities they will be tackling in their next session. Guests then heard from Aniello Anzelmo, Head of Production at Bombardier Transportation, on his experience of the industry to date, and the advice he would give to the next generation of rail professionals.
“The Summit has been really useful, it’s given me a wider understanding of the rail industry beyond my experience as a passenger, we’ve learned about freight; an area I haven’t considered before, and got to look at where the rail industry is headed. It was a really useful day for me and I would recommend it to anyone looking to attend in the future”.
Tom Scott, Porterbrook Leasing Ltd
“I have really enjoyed the day, I definitely feel that I have gained a greater understanding of the rail industry, from issues surrounding gender equality, to HS2 and their plans for the future”.
Melissa Hufton, NTAR
“I’ve learned so much today, and it’s been really useful to meet new people, like me, who are just starting out in the rail industry”.
Molly Cannon, Bombardier Transportation