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An industry for everyone

Welcome to another edition of RailStaff, which reaches you with summer in full swing and temperatures on the rise.

This month we turn our attention to the issue of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI); a burning topic for any industry. Making staff feel secure, safe, and represented in their roles is of the utmost importance. Everyone should be able to bring their true selves to the workplace and expect the same opportunities as all others to rise through the ranks.

We kick off this month’s focus with an interview with Stuart Meek, chief operating officer at South Western Rail. Since settling into the role in August last year, he has made it his mission to make the company – which already has a strong culture of EDI – one of the leaders in the field. Stuart discusses the role that recruitment has to play in creating an inclusive workplace, the dangers of falling into the box-ticking trap, and his dislike of the word ‘woke’, which has seemingly replaced ‘political correctness’ as a red flag for many commentators.

We also chat to GWR’s Ewan McDermott, a train dispatcher at Bath Spa station and Regional Chair of Young Rail Professionals’ Western Region. Ewan explains to us his experience of autism and how it can be a strength in his chosen profession. He discusses the work that the rail industry does to support neurodiverse individuals and offers advice to others considering a career on the rails.

With Pride Month in full swing, it makes sense to examine the issues faced by LGBTQ+ employees and the work that companies do to ensure they are supported and celebrated in the workplace. We take a look at the events taking place between 1-30 June and ask what more can be done to improve inclusivity.

Thankfully, the covid pandemic emergency is slowly becoming a distant memory, although the industry continues to tackle it effects. With remote working becoming the norm, companies are having to think about how their EDI policies must evolve to reflect this new reality. Remote working brings new challenges for firms looking to foster a culture of inclusivity and Stefan Murray from Mace Consult discusses how these can be overcome.

Moving on from EDI, we turn our attention to the RailStaff Awards, which are now less than six months away. We take a look at past winner Lee Woolcott-Ellis who, since receiving the Rail Person of the Year Award, has seen his career go from strength-to-strength. Lee’s passion and drive for protecting and promoting good mental health saw him secure the award in 2018 and then go on to write the revolutionary Rail Industry Mental Health Charter.

With the clock ticking away until the night of 30 November, now is the time to start nominating your employee superstars and snapping up tickets for the main event. The RailStaff Awards is the highlight of the industry calendar and celebrates the best that Rail has to offer. If you’ve never been before – make this the year!

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