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Young Rail Professionals mark five-year success

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2015 marks the beginning of a new partnership between Young Rail Professionals (YRP) and Rail Media. YRP would like to welcome Rail Media as its newest Platinum Level Corporate Member. YRP will be writing a monthly feature in RailStaff to highlight the drama and action of young people in the industry.

Formed in 2009 to: Promote, Inspire, and Develop young people in the rail industry. What began as a networking organisation between the young members of the IRO, the IRSE, the IMechE and the IET now brings people together across the breadth and depth of the rail industry.

4 February 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of the formal launch of YRP, which is run wholly by volunteers who are passionate about the rail industry. In five short years membership has soared to over 1,900 members, with regional chapters stretching across the length of Great Britain, soon to span the globe to Australia.

The fifth year also saw the incorporation of YRP as a not-for-profit limited company, in order to increase its efficacy in manifesting opportunities and positive change for young professionals and potential entrants to the rail industry. YRP also formed a corporate membership structure, with all membership fees going directly to supporting outreach and development activities which deliver value for the rail industry.

Young as you feel

Says YRP chairman Adam Stead, ‘Under our constitution, we elect our committee leaders each year in order to keep the ‘young’ prominent in YRP, and to give new people earlier career responsibility to step up and lead teams, projects, and the business itself – experience people wouldn’t usually get until they became more senior.’

Adam continues, ‘A question we’re always asked is how young is ‘young’? To which our answers vary: as young as you feel, in your first 10 years of your railway career, under 35. Really, we welcome anyone who wants to join us in developing the next generation of railway talent.’

Anchored by its headline event, the Annual Black Tie Dinner, which saw a record attendance of 490 people in 2014, YRP creates year-round opportunities for its members to network, develop and to encourage new entrants to the rail industry. The Ambassadors programme and the Networking and Development programme within YRP serve as the foundations to these goals.

The Networking and Development programme runs evening seminars, technical visits, and conferences, such as the Next Generation Rail conference, which will run again in July 2015, in partnership with the Rail Research UK Association and FutureRailway.

A great place for a career

The Ambassadors programme, recent winner of the Rail Exec “Most Interesting Training & Development Programme 2014”, targets students at schools, colleges, and universities to attract them to the rail industry. On 5 February, 2015, YRP Rail Ambassadors will run a large-scale STEM Ambassador induction and networking event, in partnership with STEMNET, to provide a significant addition to its growing base of YRP Rail Ambassadors.

Says Stephen Head, YRP Ambassadors manager, ‘So many people we speak to in rail only ended up in the industry by accident. We want to get out there to share what a great place this is to have a career. We do this via our network of Rail Ambassador volunteers who speak to students directly, and through strategic industry promotion tools such as the ‘Routes into Rail’ video, developed in collaboration with our partners.’

Scope and Influence

Growing in scope and influence, YRP now sits amongst industry and government bodies, working with the Rail Supply Group and the Rail Delivery Group, amongst professional institutions on the Railway Engineers Forum, amongst rail industry powerhouses in the high-speed rail industry leaders’ meetings, and amongst rail industry influencers on the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE) Industry Promotion Steering Group. YRP gives young people the opportunity to have a collective voice to shape the future of rail, providing these platforms to reach in to industry leadership.

YRP has come a long way since its four pioneers converged in 2009. Now, riding on the enthusiasm and energy of young people, it continues to grow and is inspiring and developing the next generation of railway talent.



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