Pictured above L-R: David Bainbridge and James Donovan
What does excellence mean to you and how have you seen it demonstrated in the Rail Industry?
Excellence to me is a willingness to not to accept the status quo. Trying to address existing problems in everyday tasks with a novel approach, and being willing to consider a different way of doing things to achieve a better result.
How has winning this award changed your approach to your work?
Achieving this award helped me in so many ways. I have gained a considerable amount of contacts, knowledge, and experience through both the award trip and through other involvement within the RTAA. Outside of this, though, I think that this award has affirmed my approach to alternative and innovative solutions, and how to implement this approach in day-to-day work.
What advice would you give to others in a similar position in about being successful or forging a good career in rail?
The best advice I can give is to grab any opportunity that comes your way. Both personal and professional development comes from new opportunities and experiences. Even if you have difficulty, there are so many helpful and knowledgeable people within the industry that would be keen to provide their insight.
What conference did you attend and what was the best thing/ key learning you took away from it?
I attended Innotrans 2018 as part of my award. For anyone that hasn’t been before, it is a gunzel’s dream: the largest rail conference in the world, full of the latest technology and ideas. I also attended a number of site visits across Europe, including Thermit, Elcowire, Plasser & Theurer, and Network Rail. I came away with many new rail friends, and a greater appreciation of how rail works outside of Australia.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for rail in the future and how can the RTAA support that?
While we are seeing more investment in rail than ever before, I think it would be great to see a more significant focus on the development of our people. There has been so much work in rail over the last few years that we are running out of experienced and knowledgeable people to be involved. Focussing on providing developmental opportunities for members of the industry could be a strategy that makes the current investment sustainable in the long term. This could take the form of apprenticeships, short courses, or masters degrees, which focus specifically on rail and rail-related fields. RTAA already does a great job of sharing the knowledge of its members, but are also well placed to understand the needs of rail employees of the future. Working with other major organisations, it could be possible to provide a development program for new entrants into the field, or enable rail-veterans to continue their development outside of their specific area(s) of understanding.