Championing Women in Rail

Monday, 30 May 2022 13:02
Championing Women in Rail

In her new role as DigiRail’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Victoria Todd came across the Women in Rail initiative when she joined the Rail Industry Association. No stranger to championing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, she jumped at the chance to become involved. She says, “In my last role I worked in the communications team at The Disabilities Trust, a national charity offering specialist community-based and residential support for adults with acquired brain injury, complex physical or learning disabilities, and autism. I wanted to become involved with Women in Rail so that I could continue to be an ambassador for equality, diversity, and inclusion.”

Her motivation, she says, begins at home. “As the mum of two teenage girls, I want to be a role model for them, show them they can work in whatever industry they choose, and encourage them to have their own voice.”

Women in Rail is an initiative focussed on improving diversity in the UK rail industry by providing networking opportunities and support for women within the sector, while encouraging stakeholders to champion diversity. The initiative also aims to attract young people to the industry, positioning rail as an appealing career and breathing new energy into the sector.

The rail industry is in the midst of enormous change and Women in Rail gives businesses the opportunity to adopt diversity as a business strategy, change the current work culture, and bring people with much-needed skills and backgrounds into the fold. This is not about ticking a box or looking good, it is a vital step in ensuring that we are able to access a large pool of people with diverse talents and skills.

In addition to this, the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter (EDI) for the UK railway industry – a commitment to work together to build a more balanced higher performing sector – is a collaboration of Women in Rail and the Rail Industry Association, backed by over 186 organisations. The charter aims to ensure fairness and equality, while also fostering better decision-making and economic performance. Victoria says, “During my short time working for DigiRail I have learnt that the people involved in the industry have a passion for everything rail. Placing the EDI Charter at the heart of what we do will make employees feel valued, motivated, and engaged.”

DigiRail is a subsidiary of software development firm DVT, part of the Dynamics Technologies group, which places diversity and inclusivity at the centre of its business ethos. “I have a great opportunity to build on this culture at DigiRail, putting EDI at the core of our values and vision,” she says. “I look forward to sharing my experience working with people with disabilities and diverse backgrounds with Women in Rail, to getting involved with like-minded people, and to becoming a champion of positive change in the rail industry.”

Unafraid to jump in and get involved, Victoria admits that joining the industry without a background in rail and technology has, at times, lead to a feeling of imposter syndrome. But, she says, it is important to remember that skills are transferable, and it is an exciting time to join the industry.

This bold and uplifting approach is one she strives to share with her own daughters. “I encourage my girls to always believe in themselves. They put a lot of pressure on themselves, particularly when it comes to doing well at school and knowing what to do with their futures. I tell them it’s OK if they don’t have everything planned out, it is important that they feel able to follow their passions and learn to trust their gut instincts. I want them to understand that they don’t need to follow their peers – they can change their area of study, take a gap year, or skip university entirely and take a different route, such as joining an apprentice programme. I don’t want them to feel limited in their choices or options.”

Tom Clare, Managing Director at DigiRail, is a firm ally and says, “We are proud to be signed up to the EDI Charter in partnership with The Rail Industry Association and Women in Rail. We hope the Charter encourages positive change in the industry and look forward to being part of this great initiative.”