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Katie Hughes went from working for BT and enjoying a successful spell in management with Lloyds Banking Group before moving into the rail sector.
She’s not always found the transition easy, but Katie has encouraging advice for other women looking to enter the industry:
“It’s not always easy being female in this industry as some people still don’t expect to see women working near the rails.”
Katie says it can be difficult for women going into any male-dominated workplace. However, after succeeding in banking, she had the confidence needed to achieve just the same in her new role.
"Because I’m straightforward and to the point, my colleagues quickly began opening up. In this industry, you’ve got to have empathy, and be caring and understanding. You’ve got to be self-motivated and must work closely with your team as you’re relying on them in a partnership.
Sometimes we work with station managers, dispatchers and other members of platform and station staff. I enjoy this collaborative side of the role.
It’s about asking questions. I make sure I ask lots of questions because I want to know the answers and also because people want to share their knowledge.”
Katie also describes how she knows of other women in similar roles who do have experience operating directly on the tracks and carrying out more physically demanding work.
“I know where my strengths lie and my ability to diffuse situations, empathise with those in distress and keep a level head make me perfectly suited for the role as a Trespassing and Vandalism Patroller with Vital Human Resources.”
The rail industry is becoming more diverse, which can only be positive, but the roles within it have always been multiple and varied. Whatever your background or expertise, there are positions and responsibilities to suit any and everyone.
So, what final piece of advice would Katie give to any females asking her about a career in the rail industry?
“As I’ve said to a few of my friends, they’d be perfect, because, well, women bring diversity of thought. 100%, we should have more women on the rail.
Just go for it.”