One of a series of interviews with young professionals working in today’s North West Rail Industry.
My name is Sam Foulkes and I am a Project Engineer working for Lucchini Unipart Rail (formerly Lucchini UK) in Manchester. I am 30 years of age, have been working for this company since starting as an apprentice 12 years ago. My wife and I have two children.
I started on Lucchini’s Modern Apprenticeship Scheme, operated by the company in conjunction with a local training company. Following an initial six-month period at college, the next six months were split between the various departments of Lucchini UK (both shop floor and offices). At my one-year review, I asked to be assigned to the Technical Services department since I saw a career for myself as an engineer.
Following on from completing my apprenticeship I went on to study towards a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Mechanical Engineering. This was a two year, day-release course which I completed in 2010.
I then enrolled on a B.Eng course with the Open University. Studying towards a degree in your spare time whilst being in full time employment, with two small children, is as difficult as it is time consuming. However, with LUR financing my academic study, it seemed like an offer I could not refuse.
Because I have been simultaneously working and studying throughout my time at LUR, I have been able to relate the real world of engineering problems encountered during my day job to the theory and principles studied through my degree.
Achieving the status of an Incorporated Engineer has been a particular highlight of my professional career so far. It involved recording my professional development in substantial detail then submitting to questioning from an interview panel at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in London. This is the Engineering Council’s assessment that assures LUR’s customers of my professional competence and has shown me how far I have come from starting with the business as an apprentice. Of course achieving that meant my salary increased considerably, since engineers in the rail industry command good rates!
What a career in the rail industry will offer
Why this route has worked for me
For me, leaving high school and heading straight into further education did not seem all that attractive. Instead, I wanted to learn through practical experience – which is exactly what an apprenticeship in engineering offered. Also, being 18 the time, there was also the obvious attraction of earning a salary whilst I learned!
Some responsibilities as a Project Engineer
What aspects of my work I most enjoy
Activities I have enjoyed outside the day-to-day:
The current contract for Operation and Maintenance of Dublin’s LUAS light rail network is due to expire Q4 2019, with tendering for a new 6 year contract (valued at €495 million) due to commence later this year. French-based international private public transport operator Transdev has the existing contract.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the state agency in Ireland responsible for national road and public transport infrastructure, are planning a Market Awareness Day in Dublin on April 5th 2017 for organisations, companies or consortium interested in the project.
Information on how to register for the event can be requested through Exporting is Great.
A message from Sir David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 Ltd.
I am very pleased to confirm the appointment of Mark Thurston as the new Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd. He will start this spring.
Mark began his career in the rail industry over 30 years ago as an apprentice with London Transport, before fulfilling a series of roles with The Nichols Group and Metronet. Working for CH2M since 2008, on the London 2012 Olympics and Crossrail, he was lead for the Programme Partner joint venture for three years. He is currently the regional managing director overseeing CH2M's European operations, which includes those in the UK.
His appointment comes after a five month global search led by Heidrick and Struggles, which reviewed some 20 potential candidates working on projects in America, Australia and Asia, as well as in the UK.
Mark not only knows the UK rail industry from the bottom up, but has worked for organisations operating at the highest level globally. His grasp of how to manage the transition from page to reality makes him not only the right person to take over at HS2 as we look to achieve Royal Assent on Phase One, but also to see it through the years leading up to the start of operations.
The challenge is huge in terms of the task and timescale, but the Board firmly believes Mark has the knowledge, experience and leadership qualities to deliver the project within the budget we have been set and to do so in a way that recognises our responsibility both to Parliament and the communities in which we will be operating.
If you would like any further information on the appointment, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arup have outlined their vision of the Rail Sector by 2050, to read the document in full, click here.
Registration for the Railway Industry Association’s UIS workshop #21 is now open and will take place in Liverpool on 5th April 2017 in collaboration with the North West Rail Industry Leaders Group.
The workshop is free to attend. It is an exceptional opportunity to understand more about the rail industry, hear about challenges and capabilities and identify routes to market for your innovations.
Our events typically attract 180+ attendees from around 120 organisations and offer a stimulating mix of presentations, elevator pitches, product acceptance surgeries, breakout sessions and plenty of networking opportunities with clients and suppliers.
North West Rail Industry Leaders Group brings together businesses to help develop and support the rail industry in the region. Ian Dolman, Managing Director - Transit Systems, Wabtec Faiveley UK will provide an overview of their work and how to get involved.
Would you like to understand more about the train operator Northern Rail Wayne Batty, Head of Innovation, will provide insight into the franchise, their transformation agenda and their innovation challenges.
Kelvin Davies, Innovate UK will share details on a number of funding opportunities to support innovation within the rail industry. We can’t say more just yet, but if you want to be part of a collaboration and apply for funding, this is an excellent opportunity to understand more and network with others.
Is the world of innovation investment an unknown to you? Paul Tranter, PCS International, who specialises is a helping SME’s access investment, present the 5 key requirements to attract funding.
Are you aware of the opportunities and benefits of working with academia? Simon Iwnicki, Director of the Institute of Railway Research, will take you through how to engage, access and benefit from working with academia.
How do other industries innovate? The Advanced Propulsion Centre will provide insight into unlocking innovation in the automotive industry and beyond.
Product Acceptance is a key step in getting your innovation deployed in the industry. Product Acceptance specialists, Roger Moore, Network Rail and Terry Price, London Underground, will be holding one-to-one surgeries to answer any questions you may have.
A small number of elevator pitches are available for those organisations wanting to share their challenges or capabilities, but please note these are not sales pitches.
The Demo Zone offers the opportunity for a number of organisations to highlight their latest innovations, but the space allocation is strictly limited to a 1metre table top and a single optional 1metre banner.
Please register here for the next workshop https://online.riagb.org.uk If you would like to be considered for an elevator pitch or the demo zone please tick the relevant box when registering.
NORTH WEST WORKSHOP 20TH MARCH 2017
You will no doubt be aware that Government launched an industrial strategy Green Paper very recently. That Green Paper is a consultation document and Government is requesting feedback from industry by 17th April. The paper is available here and is summarised in this graphic.
The Railway Industry Association is coordinating an industry response on behalf of the Rail Supply Group and is planning a number of regional events to gain the widest possible rail supplier input. This letter is to invite you to participate in the event we are jointly organising with the North West Rail Industry Leaders Group on 20th March 2017.
Dependent on the level of interest it is expected the event will be in Warrington and will run from 11:00 to 14:00. Further details will be sent to those who register interest. To register your interest please email email@example.com.
If this dates doesn’t suit you other regional workshops are planned on the following dates:
Our response to this consultation will be very important for the industry as a whole and for the supply chain in particular so the more that response can be informed by your experience and expertise the better.
David Clarke - Technical Director
The Department for Transport recently announced the West Coast Partnership rail franchise competition, which will combine operation of the current Inter-city West Coast franchise with the design, development and mobilisation of HS2 services.
The West Coast Partnership will be defined by taking customer service to the next level, developing a service that meets the needs of all passengers, anticipates how these will change, and understands the opportunities offered by technology to improve the passenger proposition. Therefore, this is a real opportunity for dynamic and technologically innovative firms to make a real difference to the lives of passengers.
Lord Prior of Brampton was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 21 December 2016. Previously he served at the Department of Health as Minister for NHS Productivity from May 2015 until December 2016. He is a Conservative member of the House of Lords.
Lord Prior of Brampton has been appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and his responsibilities are listed below:
To view his profile, go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/people/david-prior