"Like an iceberg where you only see the tip, it is easy to only see the trains and buses without thinking of the huge network of roles that underpin their operation."
Happy 2017 and welcome back! One of the biggest challenges we face as an industry is being able to predict the future of our workforce, we are an industry struggling to attract young professionals. So as ever, here at SmartRail World, we aim to beckon the future forward and get you thinking. With this in mind reporter Sarah Wright sat with one of the industry’s young talents to get her opinion. Working as a graduate trainee for Transport for London (TfL), Hayley Magorian’s interest in rail and passion has fueled her aim to encourage more young people consider a career in this varied industry. It has led her to create initiatives and look forward to where we can be by the end of the next decade. We talk about the challenges and the rewards of working in rail, and favourite rail journeys of course!
Sarah Wright (SW): Did you always want to work in the rail industry? What is it that drew you in?
Hayley Magorian (HM): Growing up in London, the public transport network has always played a pivotal role in my life. I have used it to travel to school, university and work as well as to visit my family and friends. I only discovered the Transport for London (TfL) graduate schemes, and the opportunities they offered, after finishing University. I started researching and soon became captivated by the prospect of working in the rail industry. After successfully applying for the graduate scheme, I was talking to my Dad and he told me that I was in fact the third generation of my family to work for TfL – maybe I was always meant to work in the transport industry!
SW: It sounds like fate! Following on from this, we know that the industry has difficulty attracting young professionals, what do you think this issue is? Is a career in transport attractive enough for young people? What could be done to make it more attractive?
HM: I believe this issue is incredibly important. Even for me, despite it being the best decision I ever made, I didn’t consider a career in rail until after University. Reflecting on this, I believe part of the reason is because the diversity of careers on offer in the industry is not well known. Like an iceberg where you only see the tip, it is easy to only see the trains and buses without thinking of the huge network of roles that underpin their operation. For example, you could work in marketing or stakeholder engagement or even engineering. It is a hugely exciting industry to be a part of and we need to make sure that everyone knows that!
SW: You were recently appointed to the Leadership Board of the Railway Study Association (RSA), can you tell us a bit more about your role there?
HM: I was appointed to the RSA Leadership Board in August 2016 with the mindset of learning from the leaders in rail, influencing change and inspiring young professionals to start a career in transport, particularly young women. I am currently developing initiatives to improve membership by shaping our marketing strategy and creating different incentive packages. I am also helping improve the quality of events and activities on offer and building stakeholder relations. From this I hope to gain insights and experiences outside of TfL in other areas of the UK and overseas rail industries, which I cannot wait to share with, and use to inspire, the new generation of young professionals.
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SW: It must be difficult juggling your time at TfL with your role at the RSA, so what is the biggest challenge in your role?
HM: In addition to my job at TfL and my role on the RSA Leadership Board, I am completing a Masters qualification, acting as a social enterprise advisor to University students and volunteering as a Youth Travel Ambassador, supporting transport campaigns across schools in London. Managing all of these commitments with a personal life can be a tricky balance to strike. However, I manage it by being disciplined with my time. I use my train commute for University reading, and my phone for setting reminders. I also have a brilliant mentor, whose guidance and encouragement has been invaluable. Fortunately, it helps when you really enjoy what you do. I find the transport industry fascinating and incredibly rewarding. The ability to positively contribute to people’s everyday lives is what drives my passion.
SW: You certainly have a lot on your plate! What is it that like most about your job?
HM: One of the favorite parts of my job is the people with whom I work. Throughout the graduate scheme, I have had the pleasure of working with many exceptionally talented people across an array of disciplines. All of them care about what they do and are willing to go the extra mile, which creates a great environment to work in, especially when you’re new! Furthermore, the transport industry plays such a fundamental part of people’s lives. Every day we are relied upon by millions of people as a means to access education, employment, health care or for leisure or tourism. Through my work, I can make a real impact on people’s everyday lives and this is what really makes my job extraordinary.
SW: What will be some of the biggest differences between rail now and in 10 years’ time?
HM: There are many forces currently at play that I believe will shape the rail industry over the next ten years. Firstly, I think continuous technological advances and innovations will bring the digitalisation of the railway. Advances in Intelligent Transportation Systems will soon mean we can communicate instant data and provide performance, maintenance and journey information in real-time straight to our smart devices, thereby allowing customers to access instant journey information. Big data already allow us insights into passenger movements and behaviours, so that we can work to provide a customised and seamless service. This is without even considering the nano or bio-technical advances that will impact the materials that we could use in the future. Furthermore, I believe that megatrends, such as the predicted rapid growth in urban population and subsequent rise of megacities, will drive remarkable differences, particularly across emerging markets, both in terms of network capacity and network infrastructure integration, over the next ten years and beyond.
SW: Finally, what’s your favourite rail journey?
HM: My favourite rail journey was when I took the train from Dublin to Drogheda as part of an RSA study tour visiting Irish Rail. It was my first international business trip and we were taking the train to visit a depot to learn about their fleet and maintenance. The view was what made this my favourite rail journey. The contrasting scenery from urban to rural, as we journeyed south along the east coast, was stunning!
5 minutes with… You? Each Friday the team here at SmartRail World brings you a new 5 minutes with... interview. This fun, fast-paced feature will help you get to know more about personalities across the industry, their ideas and experiences and of course their own favourite rail journey! Want to take part? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
The last 5 minutes with... Tam Hunt, CEO of Solar Trains LLC.
The next 5 minutes with... TBC.