From mum to management, postnatal depression and inspiring women into rail – Charlotte Curtis from First Group talks about her career

Presentation1wrdteryguhjikl,  M
author profile picture

by Jessica Tabinor on

Due to expansion and significant investment in infrastructure, confidence in the UK rail industry is at its highest. Crossrail and the soon to commence HS2 projects are just two of the landmark schemes that are helping the sector to flourish. Consequently, the rail market has the opportunity to be a catalyst for change, as the success of these technical projects depends on reaching into a diverse pool of talent to deliver them.  With initiatives such as the (Morson sponsored) Big Rail Diversity Challenge, the rail sector is actively embracing the opportunity to improve gender diversity within the industry and, most importantly, inspiring the next generation of diverse talent.

One of the companies at the forefront of rail transformation in the UK is First Group who are a leading provider of transport services in the UK and North America. First Group is one of the UK’s most experienced rail operators, carrying more than 260m passengers across their three franchises and their open-access operation a year.

We sat down with Charlotte Curtis, Project Manager at First Group to find out more about her career journey and aspirations for the future…

“Currently I work in a project management role delivering the design and build of Feltham Depot. It’s a large project, consisting of 10 sidings, a staff accommodation block, connection to the mainline and enabling works. The purpose of the scheme is to stable the new 701 fleet trains.”

Charlotte explains that there is no typical day at work, one of the best things about her role is that it’s varied and always challenging:

“My days differ dependent on the lifecycle stage of the project for example during Grip 3 (option selection) I found myself attending frequent IDR (Initial Design Review) sessions with our appointed designer.

During the same period, I supported our designer with preparing all of the environmental studies that are required to submit to the Council as we needed planning approval from the from Hounslow in order to commence with the development.”

Young women are enormously underrepresented in rail and engineering, and yet stand to make a massive contribution. Charlotte discusses some of the challenges she has encountered working in a male-dominated environment:

“I'd like to think I bring diversity to our current team being a full-time working mum of two in her late 30s. 

I came on board to this project with a fresh pair of eyes and I was able to bring not only my experience within the rail sector but a positive attitude and exceptional organisational skills having juggled two children under the age of two years old.”

The use of our railway lines is expected to double in the next 25 years and so to meet this challenge we need a diverse workforce with innovative ideas at the forefront of rail operations. Charlotte chats about her aspirations for the next 5-10 years…

“Firstly, being a mum of two girls, I'd like them to witness that women have the power to accomplish anything especially when it comes to their careers. 

I would also like to increase the value of the type of contracts I'm managing. I'm currently owning and monitoring various workstreams, but I would like to learn new things and develop my contract awareness through training courses.”

Charlotte chats about how she juggles being a busy mum of two and working full time:

“I’d like to think I maintain a good work-life balance and I think it’s all about using your time wisely. I have a 1.5-hour commute to work every day, I tend to use my journey time to respond to emails whilst I'm on the train. I push myself to go to the gym every lunchtime Monday – Friday, I think this breaks up my day and releases tension.

I threw myself into my role at First Group and have encountered many occasions where I’ve ended up spending my nights working on my laptop after my children have gone to bed. Very different from being a full time stay at home mum!

I thrive on the fact that I have a good job and great people to work with who show me respect and offer support. I can't imagine not working as it gives me a sense of purpose, so my advice to all those mums who want to get back into work, just do it!”

After taking three years off work to have her children, Charlotte was unfortunately affected by post-natal depression and struggled to get back into the industry she loved. She discusses how she got back into work with the help of Morson…

“Taking three years off work to have my two children seemed like a lifetime and despite doing admin tasks for my husband’s company during this period, I still felt like I’d lost my identity.

I can remember some companies turning me down for an interview because I’d spent more than 12-months working within in a non-rail environment. I felt like I was being punished for wanting to raise a family, but I was determined to get my career back on track and all I needed was one person to believe in me.

One day I got a call from a Staci Hodson-Glenn at Morson (also a driven hard-working mum) who was about to give me the break I deserved. She put me forward for a role with one of her clients, First Group and I haven’t looked back since.”

Charlotte has now embarked on a new challenge as Project Manager for South Western Railway. She will be working on a 2-year project worth 5.3 million, delivering CCIF (customer and community improvement funded projects). We wish her all the success and look forward to catching up with her about her new role soon!


Morson’s dedication to diversity

As an organisation which operates in sectors hardest hit by imbalances, Morson is dedicated to improving diversity within the industries we work; in 2017 our CEO, Ged Mason OBE, pledged to double the number of female engineer contractors we have working for us by 2020, a figure which we’re well on the way to achieving.

In March, we announced our first official diversity ambassador, CEO and founder of Northern Power Women, Simone Roche MBE, to help us on our journey to creating truly inclusive workforces. Simone joins a growing list of existing Morson ambassadors across business, sport and the armed forces. Find out more about our partnership with Simone here. 


For more information on Morson's commitment to diversity check out our Diversity Portal. Or to find your next opportunity search jobs here.  


Cx Jobs

Security Associate/Administrator

A Security Associate is required to work for our client BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness. The purpose of the role will be to execute routine security responsibilities for the assigned workstream in order to protect BAE Systems, its people, infrastructure, information and assets, as well as the interests of its shareholders and customers, and to fulfill regulatory and legal obligations. Duties will involve; - Coordinate and carry out security tasks based on relevant policies, standards, procedures and best practices of the assigned workstream. - Respond to and maintain records of security incidents, escalating where needed - Provides regular reports on security activities to inform decision making at more senior levels - Support security investigations through the provision of information - Assure the integrity of BAE employees working in the assigned business area by maintaining personnel security and access control processes and procedures. - Provide advice and guidance for the business area on routine security queries - Advise and train others, with support from senior colleagues, in routine security procedures - Support the security culture by raising security awareness among employees in the local area (i.e. through security inductions) and modelling behaviours that demonstrate BAE System The successful applicant will have a good knowledge of relevant security services, e.g. personnel security, information security, cyber and IT security, cryptographic management, asset protection, etc. You will have good understanding of legislation and regulations. You will have experience in interacting and communicating with different levels of seniority and with customers, and ability to exercise tact and diplomacy. Good written and verbal communication skills are required along with a good working knowledge of MS Office applications. An appropriate entry level Security qualification from a certified body, where relevant. You will be able to achieve and maintain required mandated SQEP for nuclear security and safety baselines if required.Morson is acting as an employment business in relation to this vacancy.Administration; filing; e-filing; GDPR; secretarial; data entry; data input; Excel; Word; Outlook; Access; MS Office; booking system; business support; database management; diary management; minute taking; document control; security coordinator; security administrator; security clearance; MOD Morson is acting as an employment business in relation to this vacancy.

FPGA Engineer

FPGA Design Engineer 3-6 Months Contract Dorset *Dorchester* (DT2) £X0.00 P/H LTD Job Description A technology and defence (maritime) organisation are looking to add a FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) engineer to the team in Dorset, the successful candidate will be joining the team with to develop programmable logic design solutions, to high functional integrity levels. The successful FPGA Design Engineer will have the following responsibilities * Translate customer requirements into a firmware specification. * Create feasible preliminary architectures from the firmware specifications. * Carry out detailed implementation of RTL, constrained Place and Route and timing closure. * Derive verification plans to address design requirements. * Prepare related test cases to verify that the implemented design meets the requirements. * Design and utilise both unit level and BFM style verification test benches to exercise RTL. * Produce accurate written documentation to fully support the design for both internal and external customers. The successful FPGA Design Engineer should have the following skills & attributes * Proficiency in the use of a simulation tool e.g. ModelSim, Active-HDL, * Proficient in the use of Vendor design tools such as Xilinx Vivado or Altera Quartus Prime * Design and delivery of digital systems targeted at Programmable Logic Devices * IP Block design and Delivery * FPGA Verification using Self-Checking Testbenches * Producing high quality behavioural models FPGA Design Engineer £50.00 P/H 6 Months Contract Dorset (DT2) ADDITIONAL WE SEEK A FPGA ENGINEER WHO HAS WORKED IN A MILITARY / DEFENCE ENVIRONMENT / INDUSTRY WITHIN THE LAST 12 MONTHS OR WHO IS CAPABLE OF OBTAINING SECURITY CLEARANCE (SC LEVEL MINIMUM) FPGA Design Engineer 6 Months Contract Dorset *Dorchester* (DT2) £50.00 P/H Job Description A technology and defence (maritime) organisation are looking to add a FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) engineer to the team in Dorset, the successful candidate will be joining the team with to develop programmable logic design solutions, to high functional integrity levels. The successful FPGA Design Engineer will have the following responsibilities * Translate customer requirements into a firmware specification. * Create feasible preliminary architectures from the firmware specifications. * Carry out detailed implementation of RTL, constrained Place and Route and timing closure. * Derive verification plans to address design requirements. * Prepare related test cases to verify that the implemented design meets the requirements. * Design and utilise both unit level and BFM style verification test benches to exercise RTL. * Produce accurate written documentation to fully support the design for both internal and external customers. The successful FPGA Design Engineer should have the following skills & attributes * Proficiency in the use of a simulation tool e.g. ModelSim, Active-HDL, * Proficient in the use of Vendor design tools such as Xilinx Vivado or Altera Quartus Prime * Design and delivery of digital systems targeted at Programmable Logic Devices * IP Block design and Delivery * FPGA Verification using Self-Checking Testbenches * Producing high quality behavioural models FPGA Design Engineer £50.00 P/H 6 Months Contract Dorset (DT2) ADDITIONAL WE SEEK A FPGA ENGINEER WHO HAS WORKED IN A MILITARY / DEFENCE ENVIRONMENT / INDUSTRY WITHIN THE LAST 12 MONTHS OR WHO IS CAPABLE OF OBTAINING SECURITY CLEARANCE (SC LEVEL MINIMUM)

Electrical Mate

ELECTRICAL MATES - NEWCASTLE CITY CENTRE - THE SPARK BUILDING - 5 MONTH CONTRACTOur client are a leading M&E Contractor that specialise in commercial projects across the UK. They currently require the services of Electrical Mates to start on their new build, high rise commercial project in Newcastle City Centre. Candidates are required to have ECS, PPE and previous experience across commercial projects.For more information, please contact Scarlet Wilson on 01617071516.

Electrical Production Operative

Production Operatives (Electrical) - Sherburn-in-Elmet - £10.53 P/H - Immediate StartAre you the kind of person that thrives on working in a high-performance environment, where every day is new and challenging, and you will have the opportunity to change communities across the Country?Here at Legal & General Modular Homes, our vision is to make the housing market fairer for all.We design, manufacture, construct and install high quality, precision-engineered homes in dry, controlled conditions. Our 555,000 sq ft factory in Yorkshire (Europes largest) has the capacity to produce up to 3,500 affordable, sustainable homes per year, creating progressive careers across multiple disciplines.Due to the rapid expansion of our world class facility, we are now recruiting further talented production colleagues to join this truly unique opportunity. In our fantastic Modular Academy, we will give you all the required training to be the very best in your role, including learning new skills in Modern Methods of Construction!We set the bar high at L&G Modular Homes! We only welcome new colleagues that can demonstrate the following:High performingStrong work ethicFull agility & flexibility to performIntegrityPromote an inclusive & great working environmentWe want you to join and champion our core values of collaboration, straightforward, Cost & Value, purposeful & continuous improvement. These are the building blocks (no pun intended!) of how we operate as a business.We are specifically seeking candidates who enjoy manual work and have experience in any of the following areas: Assembly, tiling, stud & dry lining, tape & fill, painting, joinery, plumbing, electrical, basic DIY or general construction skills.We want to show the world what we can do, and we enjoy doing it!**We are looking for a number of colleagues to start in our facility throughout all of 2021. Although we are currently operating a day shift - we will be moving to a shift pattern and all applicants need to be flexible around an early & late shift.**Due to the location of this role we require people who would be able to drive/walk or cycle to site. All colleagues that join L&G Modular Homes are subject to background screening including DBS check.Interested? We look forward to hearing from you!COVID-19The health & safety of all of our colleagues is our number one priority. We have strict social distancing measures on site and it is currently mandatory to wear a face mask in all areas.L&G Modular Homes is an equal opportunity employer. All employment decisions are based on business requirements, job needs and individual qualifications relevant to the role and are not influenced by age, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or disability status.For more information on this role, please contact Scarlet Wilson 01617071516.

Austin Distel Va Opp86kf Q Unsplash

Advertisement