In anticipation of this year’s Armed Forces Day (25 June), Network Rail has held events in London, Milton Keynes and York in support of the Armed Forces community.
Our aims are to promote the capabilities of the three Armed Forces, demonstrating the transferable skills and behaviours for the railway industry. We also want to promote volunteering options from six defence supportive charities and the value of these for our employees and Network Rail.
Since signing the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant in 2015, Network Rail… has been working closely with the Ministry of Defence to transition skills into the rail industry and develop a forces-friendly environment.
Many former soldiers join Network Rail after their career in the Armed Forces. Lydia Newton is a former serving soldier who now works as a project management assistant for Network Rail. Here, she talks about the highlights of her Army career, and her transition to civilian life at Network Rail:
"As soon as I left school at 16. I joined the Royal Corps of Signals in 2000. Having been in the Army Cadet Force I had an idea of what to expect from regular service.
"Postings in Northern Ireland and ceremonial duties, including being part of a British emergency response team for major flooding and terrorism incidents were highlights of my career, as was my three-year stint in a NATO communications centre at RAF Northwood."
"I was very proud to be a serving solider. I wouldn't have left the services for anything, but my long-term plans changed unexpectedly when I was diagnosed with type one insulin-dependent diabetes fewer than two years after enlisting. The diagnosis came as a massive shock.
"I couldn't deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan so promotion would be difficult. The Army had taught me a lot about adaptability and this was the time to use it. I made the decision with a heavy heart to take voluntary redundancy and cut my losses while youth was still on my side."
"After 13 years in the Army I didn't have a clue about bills, getting somewhere to live and so on. I got a job off the back of a course in telecommunications and, soon after, moved to Network Rail. The job came with formal project management training and mentoring from Network Rail.
"This move was great for me and I am enjoying my career here."
Network Rail demonstrates a commitment to the Armed Forces community throughout the year, last year signing the Armed Forces Covenant.
Its 18 own-managed stations are key locations for events and collections during Royal British Legion’s city Poppy Days around the country in October and November, as well as on Remembrance Day.
There has also been a trading partnership between the rail network and Royal British Legion for 25 years, which was recently continued with the launch of Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company.
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