100 Years of Women in Transport.
Sophia was Highly Commended in the 2014 Railstaff Awards Graduate of the Year category for the bridge re-constructions on the Midland Mainline, which she undertook during her first 6 months at Network Rail.
How did you enter the transport industry?
Whilst researching graduate schemes I found and applied for the Network Rail Project Management Graduate Scheme. I have always had an interest in the transport industry and was really interested in a sector that seemed to be ever growing with a huge range of opportunities. I started at a Project Management Assistant in Infrastructure Projects East Midlands working in the Midland Mainline Electrification Team and have now been in the organisation for one and a half years.
What does your job involve?
I am a Scheme Project Manager working in the Infrastructure Projects Southern Development Team looking at projects on behalf of Network Rail Property. The role of my team is to examine how we can utilise our under-used land and airspace to build property and generate income for the railway. Understanding all the technical aspects of the railway is a challenging element of the role. I am new to the industry and not an engineer by trade, so sometimes understanding the technical elements is a challenge. However, everyone is always willing to help and there are lots of opportunities to learn.
Why do you like working in transport?
It’s an industry that really matters to everyone and is a vital part of the UK economy. Everyone in the UK uses some part of the transport network and we keep the country moving, literally and metaphorically. Whenever I say I work for Network Rail, people are always really interested in my job. The industry itself is constantly changing which means there are always new innovations to try and which better ways of doing things. Transport is in a great period of change with modernisation making it a safer and more efficient place to work and use.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Being Highly Commended in the 2014 Railstaff Awards Graduate of the Year category for the bridge re-constructions on the Midland Mainline that I undertook during the first 6 months of my graduate scheme. Every time I go past the bridges on the railway line, I get a real sense of pride.
What would your advice be to someone interested n your role?
Do your research about the railway industry. Look into the different graduate or apprenticeships that are available across the industry and consider where you could best utilise your skills. Remember that you don’t need to be an engineer to have a career in the transport industry!
How can we attract more young people onto the industry?
Make the industry a more attractive place. Explain the importance of what we do and its relationship with the other industries in the UK. We need to show people the benefits of working in the industry and the huge range of jobs and opportunities available.
Are you interested in a career with Network Rail? Please click here!
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