100 Years of women in Transport.
Following her degree in Electronic Engineering, Jennifer secured a place on the Network Rail graduate scheme, where she has now worked for nearly 10 years.
How did you enter the transport industry?
Following my degree in Electronic Engineering I attended a recruitment fair in Dublin where Network Rail had a stand. I subsequently applied for their graduate scheme and was successful. I’ve been at Network Rail for almost ten years now.
What does your job involve?
I manage all of the engineering aspects of telecoms renewal schemes and the telecoms engineering aspects of medium to large enhancements and major rail infrastructure investment projects. My work also includes producing designs for telecoms renewals projects - recently I produced the outline design for the public address (PA) system at five stations and customer information displays for three stations in the north of England
Why do you like working in transport?
I get to make a difference for the travelling public. Sometimes members of the public will know immediately that a project I have been working on has been done, for example when it is part of a station information system and they notice better, clearer displays or announcements. Other times it will be less obvious to the public because my project will have done work on the operational railway, but they will nevertheless benefit from a more reliable, faster or smoother journey.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I was the principal engineer for a project at London Marylebone station where we renewed the PA system. At the time it was the most complex project I had led on and there were a lot of stakeholders and interfaces (including a Bollywood film crew and cast on the weekend of commissioning!). The PA system in Marylebone is also connected to the fire alarm so in addition to train and security announcements, it is used to evacuate the station in the event of an emergency. The system needed to be of sufficient audible quality for passengers and to comply with British Standards on fire evacuation but we also needed to make sure local residents were not disturbed and that the speakers did not look intrusive in the Grade 2 listed station building.
What would your advice be to someone interested in your role?
Go for it! The sense of achievement when you have worked hard on a project and then see it implemented, working and improving people’s journeys is great. I would also say technical knowledge and experience are useful but interpersonal skills, communication skills, dealing with people, planning and managing situations are key.
How can we attract more young people into the industry?
There is a huge range of roles available within the industry which a lot of people do not know about- it is not just the obvious jobs of train/bus drivers and maintenance staff. We should be promoting all these jobs and not just to young people but to teachers and parents too so that they can help young people make an informed decision.
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