With men taking up the vast majority of the jobs in rail, the industry might not be an obvious choice for young women, but Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead from Community Rail Lancashire is on a mission to change all that. Here, she describes just why a STEM career in rail could be the perfect job for women taking their first step on the career ladder.
“There has been quite a lot of publicity around women and STEM careers in recent months which is brilliant, and within the rail industry we have a huge opportunity to change things for the better.
“Currently, women only make up 16% of all rail employees and within STEM roles (such as engineering) that proportion is even lower.
“We definitely need more women on the railways. Diversity is hugely important for any industry, and we know that the more diverse a company is, the more efficient and creative it is, and it’s a happier place to work in general. So not only are we trying to get more women in rail because it’s the right thing to do, but factually speaking it should make the industry more efficient and should bring in new perspectives that we need as we move into the future.
“More than that, it’s a brilliant industry for the individuals to get in to. Jobs in rail tend to be very secure and jobs for life. The variety is brilliant, the money is excellent, and a lot are extremely well paid. There are great opportunities to visit places that you may never have heard of. And we’ve taken great strides towards providing more flexibility, which again might be appealing to women.
“My job involves a lot of engagement with children and young people – demonstrating to them the opportunities that are available in interesting and exciting ways.
“I work with children from the ages of four to 16 and over, from all over the North West. Very often we’ll take a train ride to a location they haven’t been to before and we’ll give them the experience on rail that they haven’t had before.
“Recently we took schoolgirls from Manchester on a trip to Liverpool in partnership with Manchester United Foundation (www.mufoundation.org). Onboard the train were women who hold some of the rail industry’s top management positions. The idea was to get young girls to explore the option of a career in rail and throw the spotlight on it as a varied and rewarding profession for females.
“It was a really successful day and hopefully gaining the perspective of the women that do work in rail may persuade some of the girls that it’s an option for the future. I never thought of working in rail! I started working as a teacher and applied for my job at Community Rail Lancashire because it was such a strange advert but it’s the best thing I’ve done. I’d never considered the possibility of bringing education to the rail industry. It was a unique opportunity and that’s true for a lot of different roles in rail – there are a lot of positions that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.”
Traditionally the rail industry is considered as a male’s job but moving forward I hope we can start to challenge that bias in ourselves, the media and the perceptions that we give in schools.
Daisy Chapman Chamberlain is an award-winning Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead and education team leader for Community Rail Lancashire, with a passion for community engagement, transport transformation, accessibility, sustainability and young people.
She’s the author of innovative and award-winning projects focussed on women and girls in rail, inclusion of LGBT+ communities and those with additional needs and disabilities, which have led to nationally significant programme development within the transport industry, across a range of train operating companies and wider community groups.
Daisy is also the board member for the Association of Community Rail Partnerships and Northern Power Woman; Future List.
Find out more about Community Rail Lancashire’s Women in STEM projects at https://downtheline.org.uk/projects/women-who-wander/
By Daisy Chapman Chamberlain
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.