Rail Industry Focus

05.04.18

UKRIA 2018: NTAR’s response

Below is a letter from Simon Rennie, general manager at the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR), regarding the UK Rail Industry Awards 2018.

 

I am writing to summarise our experience and subsequent thoughts following the UKRIA Award Ceremony on 22nd March 2018.

NTAR was proud to receive the UKRIA Award for Apprenticeship Development. For our comparatively new team it was a reflection of having done things in the right way over the last three years; developing unique, high-quality content – well aligned to the needs of the industry and delivered by a team that cares passionately about learning in a safe and stimulating environment irrespective of the audience. A benefit of how we go about our business is also to showcase some amazing career opportunities that the rail industry has to offer, thereby addressing significant misconceptions and promoting diversity.

The entertainment at the event ran counter to many of our core values and indeed the very reason our entry was successful in the first place. Re-enacting terrorism allied to foul-mouthed hosting encapsulated violence, bullying, placing individuals under duress and crass gender-stereotyping – cutting across both diversity and safeguarding agendas that we hold dear, in addition to simply disrespecting the achievements of those being recognised. As such, we gave serious consideration to whether or not to return our award as a route to reinforcing those values. However, our preferred route is to make public and have acknowledged the nature of what we believe needs addressing. A more public dialogue such as this creates the opportunity, irrespective of the unfortunate circumstances by which it has been generated, to give a voice and a platform to what is right and what is wrong in terms of behaviour and culture.

Equally, we considered that the integrity of the judging process and the decision of the panel whose views we respect is distinct from the poor judgment attached to the design and delivery of the event itself and we concluded that the consideration behind that judging process had not been compromised. Not to celebrate some of the good things that have been achieved – and by extension losing an opportunity to promote the right behaviours and values to which we have made a small contribution – would, for us, be unintentionally counter-productive. We have also noted that the organizing committee has clearly and publicly acknowledged the extent of the error of judgment.

NTAR has placed real value on these awards and we’d like to see them continue in a way that truly celebrates Diversity and Inclusion as well as the broader achievements of our industry.  

Yours sincerely,
Simon Rennie
General Manager, NTAR

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