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Young Rail Professionals – Change at the top

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Hello! Welcome to my first column as the new Young Rail Professionals Chairwoman for 2023/2024. My name is Bonnie Price and I work for EGIS in the UK. I am also a part-time master’s student at UCL. With a background in project management consultancy, to say I have a passion for getting things done would be an understatement.

It has been an exciting past year for Young Rail Professionals. Nationally, over 70 events were held for our 8,000+ member organisations – from Cardiff to York, London to Bristol, and even Milan!

This issue arrives after YRP’s Annual dinner and awards, which was held in Birmingham with over 500 people in attendance. I hope, dear reader, that some of you were in attendance and had a wonderful time. For those who were not, I hope to inspire a little FOMO (fear of missing out) and that I’ll see you at next year’s event!

I am pleased to say that EGIS and Schweizer Electronic joined us this year as corporate members, and hopefully we will attract more corporate members as the year goes on. This is on top of the funding from our 22 other corporate members whose funding is vital for us to be able to deliver key events for the good of the industry and our members. This couldn’t be done without our fantastic members, to whom I am so grateful.

In the past 12 months, YRP has spoken at many industry events, including InnoTrans, Railtex, and Rail Cymru, and we are looking forward to what we can deliver this year. We’ve been in the privileged position to be able to judge on panels for the RailStaff awards, the Rail Industry Association’s RISE awards, and the Rail Business Awards.

So, what is next for YRP? This is our fifteenth year in action and we are making some changes, improving on what works well, and tweaking things to further enhance what we can offer to our volunteers and members.

We are moving our RailWeek initiative to February to allow more time to plan and hopefully further grow its offering. We have added an Alumni event to RailWeek to further encompass the industry and offer an event to our previous committee members. We will also be having themed days of events, and seeking sponsorship for this were possible, but I won’t spoil any surprises about those themes just yet.

Our INTOrail offering is changing slightly, with a view to performing more direct outreach with schools in deprived areas and to children’s homes, as well as to joint ventures with charities for Young People who are out of social care.

We are re-launching two regions this year: North West and Scotland. If you would like to get involved, please sign up on the website. Being a YRP member is, and always will be, free. We are also seeking more committee members all over the UK so we can continue to expand our offerings to our committees and members. Everyone is welcome at YRP and hopefully we will see you at one of our events soon!

I don’t wish to be doom and gloom, but the industry’s skills shortage is not going to go away unless radical action is taken. Our corporate sponsorships help to attract and support the rail professionals of the future. So, if your company is not listed as a corporate member with us, perhaps it should be? We are 100% volunteer led, meaning every penny we get goes directly to generating a better rail industry for young people.

All that’s left to say is thank you for joining me – I hope you enjoyed my first column! I look forward to telling you more about what YRP is getting up to in the next issue.

Image credit: Young Rail Professionals