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Mohanad Ismail: Creating positive change in rail

The rich diversity and skillsets of our rail workforce are what continue to drive forward one of the UK’s core industries. But there remains work to still be done too around equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) in rail.

Speaking with Mohanad Ismail, Principal Consultant at WSP, a member of the EDI Charter working group and a panellist at our upcoming RTM365 virtual event on ED&I in the rail industry, it was clear both the significant progress being made already and the ways we can approach further positive change.

“I can see that we are taking a step forward.

“I think we’re on the cusp of transitioning. I came into an industry six years ago where you felt like a minority. I think with all which has happened now, there is movement.”

Much of that change hasn’t necessarily involved organisational-wide policy change, either.

That has been a huge part of the puzzle, certainly, but Mohanad also points to the importance of individuals reflecting on their own personal biases and growing at an individual level. This makes the most widespread and significant change, as it empowers people to believe in and drive forward those wider, institutional changes.

“It is super important [to address our own biases]. I’d go as far as to say it is fundamental.

“If you don’t fully believe and embody positive change, you can’t make other people feel it either. We need to be willing to sit down and challenge our thoughts - which is a difficult aspect, by the way.

“We need our leaders [to do so] because if you’re not able to do that and challenge your own biases, allowing different perspectives to come into your mind, to rationalise and reason, then implementing organisational policy or anything like that is not going to work.

“We can’t really expect everyone to buy into it if they don’t see their leaders buying into it. It is that idea of having somebody to look up to; there’s credibility there, so they too think to give it a go.

“You do need everyone to buy into it, but it all starts from one person. From there, it can trickle down.”

Mohanad will be one of our panellists at the RTM365 virtual event on ED&I on June 16, 2021. Join him and a range of other great speakers by registering here.

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