An emotional Suzanne Nicholls collected a deserved Station Staff of the Year award at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena and was followed by Recruiter/HR Person of the Year winner Adam Razzell.
Suzanne, Preston station’s community champion, is dedicated to making the station a community hub and has recently won an award for her charity work. She works with local businesses to arrange pop-up shops at the station and with schools to educate children on railway safety.
‘I’m absolutely over the moon. I can’t believe it,’ said Suzanne after collecting her award. ‘This has just bowled me over completely,’ she added. ‘I did this off my own back because I enjoy doing it.’
Nominator Cheryl Marland wrote a glowing appraisal of Suzanne’s achievements over the past year. ‘I don’t know how she does it,’ said Cheryl. ‘She is a great team player and extremely level headed but with a brilliant sense of humour and she’s very ‘real’. You can approach her with anything and she will do her level best to help without compromising the task in hand.’
TBF, the sponsors of the Station Staff of the Year category, is a charity set up to support transport sector staff in times of need, hardship and distress. The organisation was established more than 100 years ago to support the families of staff fighting in the First World War. The fund has changed a lot in that time and recently became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
A small £1 contribution every week allows TBF to help its members by paying for complementary and alternative therapies or equipment not covered by the NHS, arrears on household bills or providing cash grants. Since 1997, the organisation’s membership has increased almost sixfold to more than 47,000 and every year the charity awards around £2 million to members in need of support.
Chris Sullivan, chair of TBF, said it was obvious Suzanne had a ‘benevolent streak’. At its heart, TBF believes that everyone in the industry has a moral responsibility to support one another, particularly when safety is a factor.
‘You’ve only got to make one mistake with a train,’ said Chris, talking about how personal and financial problems can be a distraction for staff while at work. ‘We can take some of the strain of it.’
Adam Razzell, who has gone from being a junior consultant to head of Advanced Resource Managers’ (ARM) rail division within just four years, was named the Recruiter/HR Person of the year, outshining a talented bunch of rail recruiters from around the industry.
In one of the many nominations for Adam, Paul Welland wrote, ‘I speak to many recruiters regularly and unlike most, Adam provides a professional service far in excess of others. I would not hesitate to recommend him.’
Over the past year, Adam has maintained a high placement average and weekly timesheet. He has also introduced positive initiatives within the business, including the creation of client- specific microsites, open days and the introduction of pre- interviews on site.
‘It feels great. Great to win an award, especially an industry award like this,’ said Adam. ‘For me, I only learn from the industry, so the industry people I speak to – the contractors, the clients – they teach me all that I know so for them to then nominate me it’s great, it’s a great achievement.’ Global Rail Jobs, a global careers website covering the international rail industry, sponsored the Recruiter/HR Person of the Year category.
Says Asif Ahmed, director, Global Rail Jobs, ‘We talk about the railway skills shortage as a UK problem, but it’s something that companies around the world are getting to grips with. Recruitment and HR professionals understand the challenge better than anyone and all of the finalists and nominees have played a central role in the past year trying to find, train and place skilled people within the industry.’
STATION STAFF OF THE YEAR HIGHLY COMMENDED
- George Heffernan, Chiltern Railways
- Esther Hayward, Southeastern
RECRUITER/HR PERSON OF THE YEAR HIGHLY COMMENDED
- Chris Stupack, Mane Contract Services
- IP Track HR Team, Network Rail