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SSL – Developing and attracting talent

Signalling Solutions Ltd (SSL), the Alstom/Balfour Beatty joint venture is delighted to endorse and sponsor the ‘Graduate of The Year’ at the RailStaff Awards 2014.

Steve McLaren, SSL Managing Director, says: ‘As a company which has a strong focus on developing the best talent at all levels, giving our support to this award is a fitting demonstration of our commitment to the future of the rail sector. Offering young people different routes into the industry is very important – and is something that SSL is committed to through our own graduate and apprenticeship programmes. I hope that the nominations for the Graduate Award category will reveal an exciting showcase of young talent and success stories from across all areas of the industry.’

SSL believes that in light of the skills shortage, graduate intake for the rail sector is vital – pointing out statistics from research by Engineering UK which predict that for each year up to 2020, the industry will need to find 87,000 graduates. Mindful of this, last year SSL launched their own Graduate Trainee Programme – and recruited 13 graduates to its growing team. The company’s 2013 recruitment campaign attracted over 500 applicants. Five graduates joined the company in January 2013 and a further eight joined in June 2013.

Career Progression

Nurturing talent and career progression is at the heart of SSL. Orla O’Connor, Resourcing Manager at Signalling Solutions, explains: ‘We are very careful to make sure our employees are doing the jobs they want to do and are best suited for.’

The company offers comprehensive training and development, plus dedicated goal-setting and feedback, so that graduates can advance personally and professionally in their chosen career. All SSL graduates go through a three-year graduate training programme which gives them an ideal foundation to build on their existing skills and realise their high potential.

Further training courses and ‘on the job’ training also give the company’s graduates a great start. SSL’s approach is all about real world, hands-on experience, coupled with first-class training and development.

Orla points out that in common with most successful companies, SSL’s staff is its biggest asset and critical to its business success.

Orla says: ‘Our people make SSL what it is today and what it will be tomorrow. We are proud of the knowledge, skills and experience of our people. We believe that maintaining and building on that heritage is a vital part of our success.

We want to actively encourage new talent and ideas – and do all we can to create an environment where we attract talented people who are motivated to give their best, and reach their full potential. Our ability to meet the needs of customers, take on new challenges and achieve our goals depends on the capability within our business.

So staff development is a key part of Signalling Solutions – and we have an increasing commitment to accelerating success and supporting our teams. We make sure our people have meaningful work, that they are motivated to give their best, and also that our clients’ experience of working with us is a positive one. Our aim is to build the best possible workforce, and give them the support and mentoring they need to succeed.’

Recruiting Recipe

SSL believes strongly in recruiting and developing the best talent at all levels. To achieve this, their approach is to maximise all avenues – classified advertising in professional media, such as RailStaff and Rail Engineer; national and regional press, as well as social media sites and recruitment open days. SSL has used LinkedIn successfully to advertise job positions, Orla reports. ‘We see social and business networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook becoming more important – and we have recently set up a SSL Facebook Careers page.’

Another successful approach has been recruiting people with transferable skills from the forces. ‘Many veterans have engineering training, and they understand the importance of discipline, health and safety, more than anybody,’ Orla says. She adds that a further positive route to harness fresh new talent has been developing opportunities for apprentices and trainees across the business.

The company also regularly hosts successful recruitment events around the country so that potential applicants interested in learning more about the business can meet Orla and members of the SSL team. ‘Earlier this summer we held a recruitment open day at our new offices in Newport,’ says Orla. ‘We hope to recruit 15 experienced designers at Newport by the end of the year, which would allow SSL to launch a new graduate and trainee scheme at the start of 2015.’

Orla sums up the company’s approach to developing staff skills and talent: ‘We want everyone at SSL to have the chance to reach their full potential and enjoy being part of an exciting and successful business. We plan to keep making this happen!’

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