Who inspires you? A parent, a teacher, your best friend? You may never have thought to name the people who have shaped your life and career, but they are journeys that few people make alone.
On 29 November, the RailStaff Awards will return for 2018. It is a spectacle with no shortage of inspiring characters.
This year’s judging panel will include Rail Delivery Group (RDG) director Gary Cooper, who said it was the people he had worked with throughout his career who have inspired him.
“Every day, since I joined the industry, I learn something from someone who works in the team I am in and, pleasingly, there are more diverse voices from which I/we can learn,“ said Gary, who has held more than a dozen director level roles, as well as front-line supervisor and manager positions, since joining the industry.
Diversity and success
Later this year, 20 more outstanding individuals will take home a RailStaff Awards winner trophy. Beyond the winners, there will be many more highly commended nominees deserving of a mention.
RDG’s backing of this year’s RailStaff Awards is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity and success of the industry, said Gary.
It fits into RDG’s overall mission – to support and challenge its members’ businesses to succeed by transforming the railway. “The key word is transform,” said Gary. “Despite our successes in GB rail in the last 20 years, we know we have much more to do in our partnership between the public and private sector, but these awards are a justified celebration of our depth and breadth of talent.”
Gary believes that what is likely to be common among this year’s winners is an understanding of what really matters to customers and who their customer is at a given time.
But beyond the benefits for the industry, the awards seek to help shape the careers of some of its most dedicated members.
For many, the event gives people the opportunity to reflect and reevaluate their careers. For some, it was a springboard to bigger things. In next month’s issue, we will catch up with TfL’s Shauni McDonald, who won the Newcomer/Graduate of the Year award back in 2011, to see how her career has flourished since her moment of RailStaff Awards glory.
The event’s reach also has the ability to extend beyond the industry and support its wider aspirations around recruitment and skills.
“It’s really important we show people through events like this that rail is a sunrise industry not a sunset industry,” said Gary. “If you want a career or simply a job that’s really interesting and a place where you can really excel then come to rail.”
Gary said the value of rail travel became clear to him while commuting to work in Leeds. He joined the industry because he felt there were things he could help to improve. What convinced Gary that a career in rail was right for him? “How wonderful the people are. People who work in rail are friendly, challenging, dedicated and great fun.”