Rail jobs, staff issues and training

12.07.19

LATC chair calls for better BAME representation in rail industry

Florence Eshalomi AM, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, has called for the rail industry to better represent the people it serves.

She made the call at the Railway Industry Association (RIA) and Young Rail Professionals TrailBlazers reception at the Oval Cricket Ground last night.

The reception brought together existing rail industry leaders with professionals from a wide range of backgrounds to network, learn from each other and discuss diversity and skills in the sector.

Ms Eshalomi, London Assembly Transport Committee Chair, said at the event: “Rail plays an important part in the daily commute and travel for thousands of Londoners.

“As London’s population is set to increase to 10.8m by 2041 we need to respond to the challenges across the transport network.

“There are existing skills shortages and gaps in the rail and wider transport sector. Having the right people with the skills in place to deliver the transport infrastructure is critical.

“We have to invest in the next generation of staff and challenge the perceptions that the rail and transport sector is only for men by encouraging more females and other underrepresented groups to study STEM subjects, supporting apprentices, training and graduate schemes.”

The day included a pre-reception workshop and speeches from RIA Chief Executive Darren Caplan and National Chair of Young Rail Professionals David Westcough.

Responding to the call from Ms Eshalomi, Mr Caplan said: “We all know that the rail industry is a great industry to work in.

“It provides fantastic jobs and great career options, yet the sector still suffers from a lack of diversity.

“70% of the rail workforce is male and only 5% of train drivers are female, a third is over 50 and only 27% are from a Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.”

“So I wholeheartedly back London Assembly Transport Committee Chair Florence Eshalomi’s inspired call for the rail industry to improve diversity at our TrailBlazers Reception.”

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