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Rail Person of the Year

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Although not intended to be the ‘Champion of Champions’ award, it is historically the last award of the evening and is often seen that way.

The award encourages and celebrates the success of exceptional people within the rail industry. 52 people were nominated in 2019, 15 shortlisted and nearly five and a half thousand people voted for them.

Nominations were all about people who had overcome adversity, in themselves, in their jobs, and in helping other people.

Paul Case, of CPC Project Services, was highly commended in this category for being fundamental in the development of multiple industry programmes and initiatives that enhance the careers of young professionals and support the next generation of skilled leaders.

Scott Nickels of West Midlands Trains, on the other hand, attended a woman who had collapsed on a train. Discovering her to be unresponsive and without a pulse, Scott then ran around the platforms at London Euston to fetch a defibrillator and then gave her CPR. By the time paramedics arrived, she had regained consciousness. He, too, was highly commended last year.

A rail industry hero

Great Western Railway’s Pete White won the judge’s votes for his actions when a train he was working on became stranded by heavy snow with around 20 customers on board, including children.

Concerned about morale, Pete spoke to each of the customers several times to build up their spirits, keeping them calm and reassured.

As the train was still stranded at 22:00, and with customers having been onboard for nearly five hours, Pete left the train and, after struggling through snow, returned from a local shop with food and drink for customers and fellow staff members.

Later that night, at 23:30, he was contacted by his line manager who informed him that Network Rail and the local police would be unable to help for several more hours. Pete then spoke to every customer, keeping them aware of the situation, despite facing some challenging conversations. He also took the name and numbers of all passengers so GWR could contact them at a later date.

The points were cleared at approximately 01:00 and the train was finally able to transport most of the passengers back home. However, it became stuck again at another sets of frozen points, with a few passengers still on board. Pete again did his best to keep morale up until they eventually arrived at the final station at around 03:30.

Pete had, by this time, been on shift for 14 hours, taking care of his customers with a smile, reassuring them with his fantastic customer service and looking after them at risk to himself.

For his remarkable efforts, Pete was awarded the ‘Rail Person of the Year’ trophy at the 2019 RailStaff Awards. He said: “We all do a tough job on the railway – anyone in my position would have done the same thing.

“I just come from a slightly different background, that’s all, and made a success of it. I went from being long-term unemployed to having a lifelong career ahead of me – from being jobless for as long as I was, that’s not all that common.”

Kenny Burton, from award sponsor Matchtech & Resourcing Solutions, said: “I’m a firm believer in ‘you can teach anything to anyone’. But what you can’t teach is the attitude towards anything. The right attitude outweighs talent any day of the week and, if you’re talented as well, it’s a win-win situation.”

Talent will come through

Matchtech & Resourcing Solutions will once again be sponsoring the Rail Person of the Year Award in 2020. It’s a good pairing, as the Rail Person of the Year Award is designed to recognise those within the industry who excel at what they do, while Matchtech & Resourcing Solutions are dedicated to connecting talent with leading companies in the rail industry, and so understand the value of exceptional people.

Last year, the award was given to Pete White of Great Western Railway, who won the award for the fantastic example he set working as a ticket examiner and dispatcher. This year, the judges will be looking for similarly inspiring people, who go above and beyond to deliver excellence in the rail industry.

As part of the same group of specialist staffing companies, Matchtech & Resourcing Solutions joined forces in 2017 to become one of the largest rail recruiters in the UK. Their complementary offerings ensure excellent coverage across both design and site works, with Matchtech focusing on professional services experts and Resourcing Solutions specialising in site-based project delivery talent.

As a combined force, Matchtech & Resourcing Solutions are highly embedded into the rail industry. Together, they have been connecting candidates with clients for over 25 years, offering both an excellent service and expert understanding of projects, skills demands and talent trends. They have supplied talent to all of the UK’s major projects, including HS2, Crossrail, Bank Station Capacity Upgrade, Victoria Station Upgrade, Northern Line Extension, Transpennine Upgrade, East West Rail and Wales & Borders. 

The two companies’ specialist consultants pride themselves on their industry expertise, building and retaining large networks of experienced and highly skilled professionals. They build close relationships with candidates and foster a deep understanding of their individual capabilities, going further than just their documented Sentinel and/or industry-related competencies, so providing an excellent service to both candidates and clients.

If there is one thing that the testing time of 2020 has taught, it is that people have an immense capacity to inspire others, helping them to better themselves by leading through example.

Last year’s winner of the Rail Person of the Year Award, Pete White, was proof of this. His CV did not boast the most impressive qualifications or projects, but his story spoke for itself – he was the person most deserving of recognition for being inspirational in his attitude to others.

There’s nothing better than seeing people fulfil their potential, and that is what the RailStaff Awards is all about – sitting down with industry peers and celebrating the inspirational stories of the nominees.

Matchtech & Resourcing Solutions look forward to seeing you there!