Where are you from?
Job title and base location
Fleet Technical Manager, Manchester
What made you want to get into this line of work?
My Dad works in the chemical industry and I enjoyed several visits to his workplace when I was younger on ‘take your daughter to work days’. This was a great introduction to engineering from a young age. From an academic side, I enjoy very practical work so when choosing a university course, I wanted something that clearly had a practical application rather than simply theory and engineering ticked those boxes.
After university, I applied for roles within many different industries, the railway being one. FirstGroup offered a structured Graduate Training programme that would help me to become Chartered, this appealed to me so I took the role and have never looked back.
How long have you been doing it for?
I began my current role in October 2016 so I am still fairly new, although I began working in the railway sector in 2005, so I am now in my twelfth year.
What does your job involve?
I hold responsibility for the safety and reliability of the train fleets that TPE currently operate. I lead a team of three engineers that help do this. I also have a team of 12 Technical Inspectors that provide technical support to the trains whilst in service.
My team is responsible for the development and implementation of modifications to the trains and optimising maintenance to improve performance. In addition, we have a major project ongoing to refurbish our largest fleet, the Class 185s, which will create a step change in customer experience introducing new systems such Wi-Fi, improved customer communications and brand new comfortable seating.
We are also busy making preparations for the brand new trains that TPE will be introducing over the next three years.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done at work this week?
In the last week, I have been involved in start-up meetings for potentially introducing some additional carriages into service from December this year, which will provide some more seats while we wait for our new trains to be built. My team will need to support these once in service so this will be a key work stream for us in the next few months.
What do you love most about your job?
Being able to make a difference. I enjoy the fact that I can see that my team’s decisions have a positive effect and we actively contribute to operating our trains and giving customers an excellent experience. It is very rewarding.
Any advice for those wishing to join the rail industry?
The railway is a great place to be, it is exciting with a lot of investment and lots going on which means lots of opportunities. If you are willing to work hard and be passionate about doing an excellent job, then the railway can really work for you.