Midlands Engine


Elaine Clark, Chief Executive of the Rail Forum Midlands on supporting the Rail Sector Deal

The Rail Forum Midlands are playing a huge part in the delivery of the Rail Sector Deal. Chief Executive Elaine Clark explains how she and her team are working to support SME's in the rail sector grow their business through collaboration and build on existing skills ahead of TCR Midlands 2019.

What does your role as Chief Executive of the Rail Forum Midlands involve?

As CEO of a small organisation I get to be involved in a lot of different things – it has to be a hands on ‘doing role,’ not just setting the strategy as we have such a small and flexible team. So it’s everything from dealing with government ministers and civil servants one day to meeting major clients/OEMs and supply chain companies another. As CEO I am responsible for setting the overall strategy of the organisation in agreement with our Board which is drawn from a cross section of our members and then ensuring we deliver on that – for ourselves and our membership. We offer a range of services and events, so I work on some of those and also lead our more strategic work on skills, SME growth, export and the sector deal delivery.

One outcome of the Rail Sector Deal is to support SMEs and Develop Skills. What is the SME and Skills growth scheme and what does it mean for the supply chain?

In order to grow, SMEs need both opportunities and access to skilled people. Our sector deal pilots aim to increase the pipeline of talent coming into the industry and identify some of those opportunities for SMEs to respond to.

As active delivery partners of developing both the SME and skills scheme, what are the next steps in delivering this?

Right now it’s about ensuring we engage and communicate with as wide a range of stakeholders as practical to ensure they know what we are doing and how they can get involved – if they want to! We also have a responsibility to the Rail Supply Group Council for delivery, so we are putting in place appropriate governance arrangements, ensuring we have a sound plan and access to the right resources to help us deliver.

How will TCR Midlands help you to deliver your message?

By the time we get to July we should have some positive progress to report. TCR will help spread that and help us maintain and increase our engagement across the supply chain.

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