A junior technical officer who started work with British Rail 47 years ago has won this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Keith Jessop joined the railway in 1968 and rose to become British Rail’s chief civil engineer in Euston.
Undaunted by the unlooked for challenge of railway privatisation, he founded Intertrain 18 years ago, basing his idea on three decades of engineering experience, a spell as Eastern Region’s central training manager and an unshakeable conviction that the railways would make a comeback. Jessop believed a resurgent railway would need skilled professionals, new apprentices and journeymen to take it forward.
Pete Canning describes the man at the helm of Doncaster-based Intertrain. ‘What initially started out as a one-man band operation now fulfils the needs and aspirations of hundreds of young people through apprenticeships, working with colleges and universities as well as thousands of personnel entering the doors to receive safety critical training.
‘On top of all this, Keith has been adamant that he wanted to help those who are less fortunate and supports community-based projects such as the Prince’s Trust.’
Keith Jessop is also helping the railway cast its net wider in a bid to recruit more people.
Says Vince Tennison, head of compliance at Intertrain, ‘One area where Keith’s influence and philosophy can be seen is in supporting the Offender Rehabilitation programme. Keith has championed taking on offenders who are coming to the end of their sentence and giving them a place to work and develop their skills as well as assisting them finding work once they have completed their term in prison. Providing such help and support to offenders is something that not a lot of people would engage in and some would disapprove of, but Keith truly believes that he is in a position to make a difference and that by providing the right support, individuals who want to work hard and make positive life choices have a future on the railway.’
Jessop believes in supporting and encouraging both students and staff.
One trainer, Eddie Duncan, described a boss who regularly goes the extra mile to help. ‘I am of a certain vintage and thought I was too long in the tooth to be completing a Level 4 Teaching Qualification,’ says Eddie. ‘But Keith changed my mind. He gave me the confidence that I could do this and indeed I did, being one of the first to achieve my Level 4 Teaching and Assessing Qualification.
‘This is just one example of how Keith has supported me through my time at Intertrain. He always has the time to listen and advise if you need it. I truly believe that my story is replicated throughout the organisation.’
Says Keith, ‘I’m delighted to have won this award, it’s a great surprise. I’d like to thank the people I’ve worked with over the years. In particular Tom Grysdale and John Midgley – sadly no longer with us. Even after 47 years in railways, I am enjoying it now more than ever because of Ian Raeburn and Alex Pond.’
FirstGroup sponsored this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was presented by FirstGroup’s employee director, Mick Barker. Speaking about the category, Mick said, ‘I think we’ve probably got the best one. You can’t beat a lifetime.
‘In saying that, it’s wonderful to see RailStaff in the way they’re recognising absolutely everybody, industry.
‘People that are often unsung heroes, people that go about their daily jobs without really ever getting the recognition that they deserve.’
- Dennis Moss, Bombardier
- Ann Turner, Virgin Trains East Coast