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"It feels great to use my ever-growing skills and knowledge to contribute to billion-pound decisions rather than just university module grades!"
MSc Advanced Mechanical Engineering, Brunel University
I would say that being a part of the company that owns, operates and upgrades the whole of GB's rail infrastructure gives almost unlimited access to all sorts of engineering disciplines, and more interestingly, their interaction and management. The fact that everyone in the industry is so open means you are free to experience almost any type of role, from hands-on maintenance to project management, policy setting or new designs.
I can honestly say that having two identical days has been a rare occurrence, especially in the first months, where the scheme provides for rotating through any part of the business, even on a daily basis. In my current role, the scope of the projects I am working on is so varied that I go from engaging with worldwide suppliers or European policy setters to managing internal clients, regarding both technical and organisational issues, all alongside developing myself on a personal and professional level.
Without a doubt, my ongoing contribution to the modelling of the future signalling system. At university, I had always enjoyed all kinds of computer modelling and simulation, and now I'm working on validating a software that simulates rail traffic flows with the next generation of signalling. The results of the simulations are used to better define now what we will be doing tomorrow. It feels great to use my ever-growing skills and knowledge to contribute to billion-pound decisions rather than just university module grades!
The attitude everyone has had across the whole of Network Rail. The transition from university to "adult" life is definitely a very difficult and uncertain one, and it's been great to have significant support and helpful, constructive advice from all around the company. It's been great to take it all on board and have numerous contributions to my future career plans.
With the size of the business and breadth of activities, it's pretty much impossible to not find the right place. Whether more technical or more managerial, the role and culture exists for everyone to fit in and gain exposure to the whole rail industry, meaning a multidisciplinary professional development is guaranteed and the route to Chartership is eased and spurred on.