HomeIndustry NewsA lifetime of service
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The railway is a way of life for many in the industry and unlike most other sectors it is not uncommon to find employees with thirty, forty or even, fifty years’ service. The Rail Staff Awards recognises the individuals who have made a significant and lasting impact during their time on the rails and celebrates their efforts to push the industry forwards.

One of Rail Staff Awards’ most prestigious prizes is the Lifetime Achievement Award which honours those who’ve dedicated their lives to the railway, delivering excellence for the benefit of customers and colleagues alike. It reflects the passion and dedication of those who’ve sacrificed countless hours manning trains, selling tickets, operating signals, or building trains and track, and provides a stage to celebrate the accomplishments of some outstanding individuals.

Top communications technology company Telent backed the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022 and returns to sponsor the prize again this year. The firm provides its services to many of the UK’s largest and most mission-critical operational systems and has delivered intelligent transport solutions and network maintenance for over 30 years.

Telent specialises in the design, build, support, and management of the rail network’s critical digital infrastructure, drawing on its decades of experience in mission critical communications and technology. With the industry now increasingly reliant on innovative digital technologies to keep services running smoothly, Telent maintains operationally critical systems that keep stations open and trains running. It also enables organisations to create, improve, and operate the ICT and communication networks that their businesses and operations depend on.

“Driving future growth and investing in technologically advanced solutions is critically important to the UK’s rail industry along with the extraordinary people who make things happen,” explains chief executive officer Jo Gretton. “The sector has a huge pool of potential talent that it can attract, offering people the opportunity to thrive in an industry allowing them to explore the options available to them and embark on a successful pathway.”

Alan McLeish, managing director of QTS Group, took home last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Alan started his business with a £300 loan in 1992, giving up his steady, full-time employment as a tree surgeon to pursue his business ambitions. Thirty years on, QTS employs over 600 people across the UK, boasting a turnover of more than £100 million annually. Alan is also a powerhouse of philanthropy, personally contributing over £100,000 to charity over the years.

“I’m absolutely humbled to have won this award,” said Alan on the night, “especially considering all the other candidates who are all so worthy of recognition. The RailStaff Awards are so important. Everybody in the industry deserves to be recognised and to get the chance to let their hair down, especially after the past couple of years. Events like this are vital.”

Jo Gretton added: “It’s brilliant that the Rail Staff Awards highlight the depth and strength of talent throughout the rail sector. In a tough field of competitors, Alan McLeish’s vision, innovation, and drive for his business, combined with his focus on people development and his fantastic charity work, made him the standout choice for the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award.”

The railway provides a unique and welcoming work environment, offering countless individuals with a career for life. The Lifetime Achievement Award reflects the passion and dedication of these individuals who are the real heroes of the industry.