The Last Word

01.07.15

Opening doors into the rail industry

Source: RTM Jun/Jul 15

RTM catches up with one of its former business development executives, Jonathan Berry, who is nearly a year into his management graduate scheme with Transport for London. David Stevenson reports.

It only feels like five minutes ago that Jonathan Berry (pictured), a bright-eyed graduate with a 1st in Marketing and Advertising Management from Leeds Beckett University, joined the team at RTM in the summer of 2013 as a business development executive.772 IMG 4928 edit

But it is actually almost a year since he joined the Transport for London (TfL) family on their management graduate scheme, so we decided to catch up with him.

Discussing the reasons for pursuing his current career path, he said: “I wanted to look at furthering my career, and the things that TfL could offer provided me with a lot more variety in terms of the job that I’d be doing.

“So, for instance, I could be working in operations one day and then work in strategy and service development during another placement. It was also the training that came with that as well.”

Opening doors

Joining RTM “opened up the door to the rail industry” and made him appreciate the number of projects going on across the sector as a whole, he told us.

“It also taught me that there was a lot going on in London,” said Jonathan. “And it made me think about what these companies are doing and how can I work with them in delivering the exciting projects they are working on.”

He also noted that RTM’s work through the UK Rail Industry Training Trust, in terms of trying to attract more young people into the industry, opened his eyes and that there was a gap available to get involved in the sector.

“There are companies out there looking for people and fresh talent to come through because they are the ones that have got the bright ideas and can bring about changes,” he said, adding: “For young people I wouldn’t discourage them joining the sector.”

Rigorous selection process

The journey of getting onto TfL’s two-year management graduate scheme was, however, rigorous and highly competitive.

“Initially there was an online application form where I had to answer a number of scenario questions, submit my CV and covering letter – as you would expect,” he said. This was followed by online psychometric tests and two phone interviews: one assessing competences and another dealing with various scenarios and problem solving.

“From that, I then got invited to an assessment centre, which was an all-day event where I had to prepare a presentation in advance; then carried out a report-writing exercise based on the presentation work; and then I had an interview at the end of the day,” said Jonathan.

“I then did a task called Fast Track which, again, is a psychometric test. We then did a group exercise without any prior knowledge and was given a scenario to deal with. Mine was: How would you, if you had a limited budget, deal with cooling the Tube? We were presented with two scenarios and you had to justify your reasoning behind your decision.

“The people then found out two days later whether they had got on the graduate scheme and, fortunately for me, I did. It was a long process but definitely worthwhile.”

On the frontline

Since starting on the scheme last September, Jonathan has undertaken a number of placements, including a stint in train operations where he was driving on the Central Line over the Christmas period.

He has also spent time working as a station supervisor and duty station manager; worked for six weeks at Embankment station with frontline staff dealing with customers; and was part of the team working on the Fit for the Future Stations, which included the much debated topic of ticket office closures.

Jonathan is currently working on Crossrail 2 and is looking at the high level early stages of feasibility for the project. “I’m looking at what the best alignment at a number of stations would be along the route, what the best interchange would be along the route and what the best worksites, from a surface point of view, are most obtainable,” he said.

“I think this is the beauty of the scheme because it gets you to appreciate how TfL works from the ground up, rather than going straight into an office-based job. You are thrown into the deep end to see how challenging it can be and what daily life is like working with customers.”

By July/August next year Jonathan will be rolling off the graduate scheme, but TfL is also funding a two-year Project and Enterprise Management Masters qualification for him, which he starts this September.

“You don’t have to do a Masters. And in order for you to do it you need to write a business case to your HR support and it has to be both beneficial to myself and the company,” he said. 

“At the moment I’ve not locked-down where I’m going to be when I finish, but I know the options are there and it is a case of me going through the right process and training to forge myself a career within TfL.” All of us here at RTM wish him well in his endeavours.

“There are companies out there looking for people and fresh talent to come through because they are the ones that have got the bright ideas and can bring about changes. For young people I wouldn’t discourage them joining the sector.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Siemens submits plans to build £200m train manufacturing site in East Yorkshire

24/04/2019Siemens submits plans to build £200m train manufacturing site in East Yorkshire

Planning applications for a £200m rail manufacturing site in Goole, East Yorkshire have been submitted by Siemens. The ‘train fa... more >
Virgin Trains proposes radical new airline-style model for fare and franchising

24/04/2019Virgin Trains proposes radical new airline-style model for fare and franchising

Virgin Trains has put forward radical new proposals to manage rail services using an airline-style model, abolishing standing on trains and forci... more >
TfL commissioner urged to quit after downplaying Crossrail ‘tragedy’

24/04/2019TfL commissioner urged to quit after downplaying Crossrail ‘tragedy’

Transport for London’s (TfL) chief commissioner has been told to consider resigning after he “watered down” key messages betwee... more >
Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

17/04/2019Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

A new interactive map which lets passengers find out about accessibility at stations has been launched by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to help b... more >

comment

Changing the London skyline with HS2

26/03/2019Changing the London skyline with HS2

Lisa Hogben, HS2 programme delivery manager for area south enabling works, explains how the arrival of HS2’s first tower cranes shows chang... more >
Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

26/03/2019Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

In 2018 Steve Featherstone, programme director of track at Network Rail, set his team a challenge to secure 100 high-speed track handovers in a y... more >
26-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

19/03/201926-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

After a nine-month national trial, the rail industry launched its seventh National Railcard for 26-30-year-olds on 2 January 2019. Rail Delivery ... more >
Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

19/03/2019Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

The world-renowned Caledonian Sleeper, due to begin operations at the end of spring 2019, completed its first Scotland to London journey earlier ... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

'the sleepers' daily blog

West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

08/04/2019West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

Malcolm Holmes, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Rail Executive, joins us to discuss the 30-year Rail Investment Strategy, and how he and his... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >