Information published on 17 November 2015 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 473.

How to “switch on” girls to engineering – Network Rail changes its approach to attract women engineers in the light of survey results

The UIC TALENT project (Global Network of Railway Talents) has been set up to tackle the various challenges that the railway industry is facing (ageing population, image problem, war for talent, loss of corporate knowledge, skills mismatches, knowledge transfer...) and support its members in their national approaches and efforts for improving the image of the railway industry, as well as attracting and retaining the best talents. The project endeavours to tackle the following top three priorities:

  • Ensure that knowledge is passed on to the next generation
  • Develop workforce skills/capabilities
  • Attract and retain valued talent

To achieve these targets, the project has been developed around three main pillars:

  • Development of an efficient management development programme to prepare a new generation of railway talents working on domestic and international challenges
  • Creation of a strong & sustainable foundation for fostering international cooperation amongst the talents in the railway sector
  • Promotion of the railway sector and its prospective careers

Rail is still a male dominated industry. Improving diversity is necessary for companies to be successful. It helps companies access a new labour pool and enhances a company’s reputation and image. For many companies, interactions between diverse employees also spark creativity and improve innovation efforts.
Transport and logistics companies have started taking initiatives targeted at women and aiming at gender diversity.

An interesting research related to girls’ attraction to engineering was recently commissioned by Network Rail, the UK rail infrastructure manager.
The results of the study have been published by Innovation Bubble and they reveal that 7-year old girls have an ‘unconscious bias’ against engineering. Moreover, by the age of 14 many girls have completely switched off from engineering as a career option. A series of focus groups with schoolgirls across the UK revealed that the age of 11 is critical to attract girls into engineering as a career.

Network Rail is adopting a new approach to attract women engineers in the light of survey results. For more information on How to switch on girls to engineering, please visit the online TALENT platform www.railtalent.org

The online TALENT platform is a powerful tool to support the activities of the Global Network of Railway Talents, including the promotion of rail sector at the global level.

You can be part of this challenging project
How can you contribute?

  • You can share news, publications, pictures and events
  • You can share online resources (e-learning modules, portal, websites, toolbox, game, videos…) http://www.railtalent.org/online-resources
  • You can share good practices
  • You can share your ideas/proposals about the development of the network
  • You can launch a discussion/forum on a topic that you would like to share knowledge about
  • You can share your passion about railways, thus inspiring young people to enter this exciting and challenging industry

For further information please contact Nathalie Amirault, Head of Division Expertise Development: amirault@uic.org