Dyan Crowther, chief executive of HS1 Ltd, has stressed the importance of tackling the industry’s “outdated 1950s stereotypes” as it seeks to recruit the next generation of workers.
Dyan was part of an all-female panel of leading industry figures who called for: an overhaul of the sector’s image of antisocial working; greater support for women; and to encourage greater interest in STEM learning from a younger age, to make the workforce better reflect society.
Speaking at the Rail Women event, which was held at St Pancras International on International Women’s Day, Dyan added: “Without women, the workforce is missing half its potential.
“This is a fantastic sector with a huge variety of roles. We need to do a better job at making young people aware that a career in rail doesn’t necessarily mean hard hats, orange jackets and manual labour.”
Currently woman make up less than a fifth of the UK’s rail workforce and with the sector facing a looming skills crisis, targeted action to recruit and retain the next generation of workers is needed, especially to expand the pool to include more women and diverse candidates.
Dyan was part of a panel of six leading women from across the sector, including: Hitachi Rail Europe deputy HR director Claire Magee; former Network Rail chief engineer Jane Simpson; Betchel project manager Nisrine Chartouny; National College for High Speed rail chair Alison Munro; and Women in Rail founder Adeline Ginn.