Morson Vital Training (MVT) are delighted to have been invited to take part in the Women into Transportation and Engineering (WiTnE) Pre-Employment Programme, the latest initiative from Transport the London (TfL).
The invitation comes off the back of MVT winning the TfL Supplier Award for Best Apprenticeship in December 2018. Other key suppliers to be involved in the programme are Thales, Telent and Arriva.
The initiative sees Morson offering a selection of real work placements to women from London with an opportunity to apply to join the apprenticeship at the end. Graham Timbers and his London-based operations team for Morson rail, are providing this opportunity, partnering with their largest client to join them in affecting change. A dedicated mentor, Daniela Halacheva, has been supplied by Morson London to answer queries and give the candidates the help and knowledge they need while gaining their experience.
Following an initial session on 14thFebruary, when six candidates were chosen, we spoke to Morson Vital Training’s Andrew Robinson about taking part in the scheme:
What are you looking for in a candidate?
We’re looking for trailblazers, people who can be the future of the rail industry. We want people who are reliable, hard-working and happy to take on a challenge and make a career of engineering.
What do the placements involve?
The placements will offer a real snapshot of the work we are involved in and a taster of what it’s like to be part of a team. It will cover the training, induction and briefing given to all operatives to prepare them to work safely. Each person will have an appointed mentor to offer support, guidance and answer questions. It will also offer experience in a variety of our work environments. These include reconditioning work (breaking off old concrete, pouring new and relaying the track) and track maintenance (identifying and correction of faults such as broken or worn components, ballast profiling and small re-rails).
Why is diversity important within rail?
Diversity is important across the whole of engineering, not just within rail. In order to meet the challenges of creating a railway fit for the future we need a diverse range of bright new people and solutions. The only way to do this is to have a workforce that reflects this diversity and is as varied as the challenges posed. It brings fresh eyes and new ways of looking at things.
Why do you think women are put off from careers in rail?
It’s because of the stereotypical view of what is required to work within the industry. We can only change this by coming together with our partners like TfL to challenge and ultimately change these attitudes. Programmes such as this show that working in modern engineering is a possibility for all.
The work conducted by MVT forms part of a larger commitment to diversity for Morson. In 2017, we launched our pledge to double the number of female contractors on our books by 2020. Research at the time indicated that doubling the number of female contractors working in the UK would add an extra 96,000 people to the UK workforce.
Ged Mason, CEO of the Morson Group, said: “Our aim is to inspire the next generation of engineers and also showcase the skills required to work in engineering to help females in other sectors realise what transferable skills they have and their career prospects in this industry. Research shows that nearly half of female engineers enter the industry through a family connection, highlighting the importance of role models within the sector. There’s also the stigma that says engineering is only for men, which is why part of our campaign is changing the perceptions amongst parents, teachers and young people who believe it’s a male profession.”