On 8 April, the Young Rail Professionals (YRP) celebrated young people in rail at its fifth Annual Black Tie Dinner. This year’s event was held outside London for the first time in recognition of YRP’s fast-growing membership outside the South East region.
Three-hundred-and-eighty YRPs, senior rail professionals and VIP guests travelled from all over the country to celebrate the event, surrounded by 300 years of history at the National Railway Museum in York.
The evening began with a lively welcome drinks reception amongst must-see locomotives and rolling stock, after which the guests moved to the dining area, dramatically set amidst twinkling lights and royal carriages.
The dinner commenced with Stephen Head’s final address as YRP chairman. Stephen’s awe-inspiring commitment to the organisation this year has solidified YRP’s status as a truly national organisation. The success of the black tie dinner in York is testament to his vision.
The highlight of the evening for many was a special keynote address from Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chairman of Network Rail. Sir Peter gave a valuable insight into his stellar career, from his days as a London Transport graduate trainee to becoming chairman of Network Rail.
His message was for the young people of the industry – its future leaders – to understand the value of knowing your business and how the individuals who work with you, and perhaps one day for you, are the essential component to running our railways, and knowledge and consideration of their needs is essential.
Sir Peter also spoke of his desire to increase the voice of young industry members in industry publications. After dinner, the new YRP chairwoman, Sabrina Ihaddaden, gave a rousing speech, appealing to the younger members of the industry to know and have confidence within themselves of the contribution they can make to the advancement of our industry.
She spoke of the impressive statistics of YRP and its continued growth across Great Britain. Fiona Malcolm, from Porterbrook, was crowned Young Rail Professional of the Year by the judging panel. She claimed the top award from a very impressive list of nominees by going above and beyond what is expected of someone at the early stage of their career, and particularly for inspiring and supporting other young professionals.
As tradition dictates, the dinner concluded with the annual YRP Committee member photograph. The dinner is an incredible opportunity for volunteers from across Britain to gather together and celebrate another year of working hard to make a difference for young people in the industry.
The next big event for the Young Rail Professionals is the first ever Rail Week, happening from 27 June to 3 July. For one intensive week, we are going to celebrate all that is great about rail to inspire students at schools, colleges and universities with an exciting programme of events across the UK.
Rail Week is a collaborative project being delivered by an industry partnership led by YRP with the support of Routes into Rail, Rail Supply Group, NSAR, NTAR, Rail Alliance, Rail Media, RRUKA, RSSB, IMechE, Rail Forum East Midlands and REF.
Young people, parents, teachers and careers advisors will get to see first-hand the exciting projects and range of jobs in rail.
Young Rail Professionals has created the Rail Week project because it knows first hand that the rail sector is a great place to work, with exciting projects to get involved in, good career prospects and a wide range of different roles to undertake.
During Rail Week, the rail sector will open its doors and go out into the community to deliver exciting interactive rail activities, hosting tours of depots, factories, control centres, stations; giving public lectures and seminars about incredible projects; and volunteering staff to promote rail in schools as Rail Week Ambassadors.
Through Rail Week, we hope that all young people from all backgrounds will consider the rail sector when thinking about their future prospects in order to make our skills gap a thing of the past. Look out for the event on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for updates on upcoming Rail Week events.
YRP is run by its members for its members. It is your organisation. To join us, please register online at www.youngrailpro.com. To become involved in organising future YRP events, performing outreach activities to promote the railway industry as a career choice, and developing opportunities for young people to be recognised and prioritised in the wider railway industry, contact us at [email protected]railpro.com.
This year’s Annual Black Tie Dinner was sponsored by CPC