Rail company driving diversity in engineering with new career partner

Published: 24 Nov 2020

With one week to go, budding engineers are being encouraged to sign up for a virtual event on 19th November hosted by the UK’s largest rail operator, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), and the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK).

Teaming up for the first time, AFBE-UK is bringing its ‘Making Engineering Hot’ programme to GTR to help promote diversity in the industry. The interactive online event will provide insight to the workings of GTR’s engineering department, whilst also showcasing the operator’s 2021 apprenticeship programme. 

The engineering sector is currently experiencing a shortage of skilled professionals, in addition to a lack of representation from the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) community. Only 9% of UK engineers are from BME backgrounds, compared to almost 30% who have graduated with an engineering degree[i]. With previous experience in the sector not required, GTR hopes to encourage individuals from all backgrounds to attend the event to get a taste of what the industry can offer.

(Footage filmed in 2018)

Taking place virtually on Thursday 19th November from 10:00 until 12:00, the careers-focused event will include sessions from GTR’s engineering experts including Steve Lammin (Engineering Director) and Tom Jerome (Apprentice Development Manager) who will be providing insight into the company’s 2021 Engineering Apprenticeship Programme. In addition, Dionne McKenzie (Head of People, COO & HQ Directorates) will host a session on the importance of having young and diverse talent in engineering and how core subjects like chemistry and physics can help hopeful candidates go further in the industry. 

Dionne McKenzie, Head of People, COO & HQ Directorates at GTR, says: “As the largest rail operator in the UK, engineering is a major part of the business and we’re always on the lookout for our future stars. To best serve our passengers, we need to have a diverse and highly skilled workforce, which is why we’ve partnered with AFBE-UK. We’re hoping to entice talent from across the UK to sign up for our 2021 apprenticeships.”

Steve Lammin, Engineering Director at GTR, adds: “It’s a really exciting but difficult time right now for young people trying to take their first steps into employment. Our engineering apprenticeships offer the chance to learn on the job, earning a real salary to achieve a nationally-recognised qualification. For us, it’s not about previous knowledge or experience, just commitment, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.”

Maryam Adeleke, Making Engineering Hot Programme Lead for AFBE-UK, comments: “The AFBE-UK ‘Making Engineering Hot’ programme is delighted to be hosting this event with GTR. Its engineering apprenticeship scheme is a fantastic opportunity for the young people we work with and the company shares the same desire to increase diversity within engineering. AFBE-UK has reached over 3500 young people, which is an exciting achievement given the recent challenges that have arisen in the industry and academia during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

For those wishing to sign up to GTR’s joint event with AFBE-UK on 19th November and hear more from GTR’s engineering team, please register interest here.

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