Jennifer Beston, NRHS Infrastructure Director
“The best thing I’ve learned is that engineering really just is about working together to solve problems. I’m really proud to lead a team of engineers, and their amazing work means that people are able to choose a more green form of transport to move around to see family or friends, or for work.
My #1 advice for women getting into engineering is to be bold and don’t be afraid to set your own path. Don’t worry if you don’t exactly know what you want to do. There are so many different routes and avenues associated with engineering that you can take so give something a try. The skills you learn will set you up for a lifetime of different opportunities.
My favourite career moment is when we ran a train for the first time with people on that I was responsible for bringing into use on our rail network. The train was full of everyone involved in delivering the project, and so to bring everyone together and celebrate their achievements made me extremely proud and humble to lead that project.”
Jennifer Foster, NRHS Infrastructure Planning Manager
“Don’t ever be put off working on the railway despite it being seen as a man’s world. Every day is a challenge but there is always support. There are fantastic development opportunities at every level, no matter what gender you are.
Working on the railway was not my first choice but I would not change it for the world.”
Laura Main, NRHS Head of HR
“Choose a career path where you do something that you really enjoy! If you love problem solving, being innovative, and coming up with solutions, engineering might be for you!
When you do something you love, it doesn’t feel like a job at all.”
Sonny Sandhu, NRHS HR Infrastructure Business Partner
“When you start, talk to as many people as possible to understand what they do in the business and how that impacts the bigger picture. Ask them who you should talk to next.
This will help you understand the business better but also helps you see how your role impacts them so you can make difference.”
Jannine Lavender, NRHS Programme Manager
“Engineering is accessible for women as much as men, but not widely known. There are a vast number of engineering roles available, from asset protection, becoming an inspector to more front-line roles or project management. There’s even more of an unknown! It’s really interesting and can be quite exciting! When I was in an engineering role, I worked on the Olympic park project (asset protection – we even made them move the handball arena as it was too close to our tunnels at Stratford).
My most important piece of advice would be to be brave and go for it! I can promise it will be interesting and I can also promise that it will set you up for an illustrious career, with career progression and many development opportunities for those that want to go further in the industry.”
Alisha Russell, NRHS Communications Manager, Infrastructure Business Partner
“I’ve only ever known the railway. I was fortunate enough to land a job in Network Rail when I graduated from university in 2017, I was 21 and didn’t want to pursue a career in Journalism – my undergrad degree – but wanted to be able to use the transferrable skills I’d studied for.
I started in community relations at NR and since starting 6 years ago, I would never look back. I love working for the rail industry, I love learning something new every day from operations to engineering, there’s so many jobs within this sector and every day you learn something brand new.
You wouldn’t believe it, but this industry has come so far in terms of inclusivity, we’re not perfect but nobody is, and as a woman working in it, it’s our job to champion change and inspire the next generation of girls looking to start their career.
I truly can’t recommend enough taking the plunge and being the change, you want to see!”
Annette Berrett, NRHS Senior Helpdesk Operator
“My number one piece of advice to start a career in the industry would be: Believe in yourself – you can do it and do it well – the support is there for you to succeed.”
Gabriella Nicholas, NRHS Communications Manager
“My number one piece of advice, although cliché, is to believe in yourself and your abilities. Entering the world of engineering, which is typically a male-dominated environment can seem intimidating at first – but don’t let that stop you. I’ve worked for Network Rail for the last 10 years and I have only ever received support and encouragement.
I’d like to think that as a young(ish) woman working in the engineering sector, I bring a unique perspective to the table and different ideas that others might not have – never be afraid to challenge the status quo and let your ideas be heard.”