Over 20 enthusiastic railway professionals from 15 different nationalities came to Milan on 1 and 2 June 2016 to attend the 2nd Railway Talent event, which took place alongside WCRR. The first day of the event was a training day and the second day participants had the opportunity to attend one of the technical visits proposed in the frame of WCRR.
The first day started with a video welcome message from Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director-General of the International Union of Railways (UIC), who presented progress made so far within the Talent project, around the three main objectives of the project, i.e.:
- The development of an efficient management programme for railway talents
- Fostering international cooperation, so as to facilitate the process of knowledge,
values and experience sharing between different generations of railway people and across different transport modes, as well as to stimulate the active dialogue between different cultures and generations
- The promotion of rail careers, as a way to enhance the image of the sector
Next, Nathalie Amirault, the manager of the Talent project, welcomed all participants, stating the objectives of the day and the expected outputs.
She reminded the audience about the philosophy of the project, underlying its core values (attractiveness, creativity, performance, responsibility, and openness). Mrs Amirault also reported back on the Ambassadors’ programme which had been launched a few weeks prior to the event.
Nearly 30 Ambassadors have already joined the programme and eight of them, representing eight different countries, attended the event in Milan.
They all presented their visions for the development of the Ambassadors’ scheme and roles they would like to play in promoting railway careers to future talents.
Mr Jacques Pateau, the consultant specialised in intercultural communication and management used various tools to highlight challenges faced in a multicultural environment and linked to communication issues, but also shared useful tips on how to overcome the barriers and be effective in relations with people from other countries and cultures.
Through the first two tools  a short video clip, which showed an international project team meeting and the failures in delivering the project and  a card game where the main rule was “not to talk”, the participants learnt how to manage diversity through the development of key international competencies, how to avoid cross-cultural pitfalls, as well as to develop cultural awareness and self criticism.
Through the third tool which was  a verbal, but a virtual communication playful simulation, the participants learnt to adapt their way of working and communicating, in order to meet the demands of working virtually and optimise the quality of virtual interactions.
The final session was an open feedback from participants on what they had learnt during the day. Opinions were very positive and people were grateful for lessons learnt on the day. The comments included:
- “It was a very positive and flexible environment”
- “I was surprised with a diversity in the group, not only in terms of nationalities and professional backgrounds, but also in the way we work and operate”
- “We put ourselves in other shoes”
- “The coach managed to turn a room of strangers into a room of colleagues, hopefully able to work together in the future”
- “We have learnt how to build a successful community and share our knowledge and skills virtually”
- “We have learnt that mixed communication techniques should be used to be successful”
- “We now have a curiosity to listen and understand the other”
- “We need to attract young people, we need fresh blood in the railway industry and we need to learn how to communicate with new talents”
Nathalie Amirault thanked all and summarised the day by saying that “We have reached another step towards a stronger network of Railway Talents”. Jacques Pateau closed the training by saying that “Culture matters, but we are much more than that”.
The next Talent event is planned for 2017. To find out more about the Railway Talents project and Ambassadors programme visit: www.railtalent.org and follow us on Twitter @railwaytalents