By Ben Ridehalgh, Deputy Head, Buses and Taxis
The Department for Transport (DfT) has a series of networks for staff at different stages of their lives - for younger and older staff, parents and carers, which exist to share experiences and use these to support people in whatever way possible. These were all set up in the last few years by people in the department who want to offer something.
For me this moment came in 2015, when my son was in and out of hospital for months and there wasn’t an obvious place to turn.
I was eventually pointed through the Women’s Network to someone in another government department. I thought we could do better and got involved with a few others setting up the Age and Carers Networks.
Our four networks are open to everyone. Members help to run events, write newsletters, or just lend a friendly ear.
Our networks include the:
- Carers network, which can help you deal with the challenges of having a busy job whilst caring for a friend or family member;
- Young Families network which can help you manage your career whilst being responsible for a young family
- Young People's network which focuses on the needs of existing young employees and seeks to make DfT attractive to more young people
- 50+ group which considers the challenges of continuing professional development, performance management and retirement for employees over 50
Bring your children to work day
Our next big event will be bring your children to work day, organised by the young families network. This day sees parents bring their school-age children into the office to find out what mum and dad do all day at work!
Along with a chance to meet their parents’ colleagues, there will be a programme of talks and activities suitable for different ages. For example - working with the Year of Engineering team to involve our own children in their great work to inspire the next generation of innovators, inventors and problem solvers: look out for further details.
We also want to be more than the sum of our parts. There are a huge number of interesting challenges, and many cross-cutting issues.
These include making the most of a multi-generational workforce and the skills and knowledge each of us have.
We’re lucky to have Ruth and Polly as role model champions. We meet regularly with them to address issues of common concern; and help us mature as an offer to staff in the Department.
The staff networks are here to support everyone working at the department; with the energy and enthusiasm of members working here, it helps to make DfT a great place to work.