Train operator Northern has been shortlisted for recognition in this year’s Rail Business Awards.
The Awards are now in their 24th year, and celebrate achievements in every aspect of the rail industry, from daily operations, safety, and customer service, to technical innovation and major projects.
They recognise operators, suppliers, and infrastructure providers from across the country in 16 hotly contested categories.
Northern has been shortlisted for its efforts in improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and for its commitment to environmental sustainability. Also, Charlotte Harris, a standout member of the management team, is in the running for the title of “Young Professional of the Year”.
Charlotte, who is 22 and from York, joined Northern on a university placement and quickly developed a reputation as a problem solver and innovative thinker. She currently works as an Improvement Manager, investigating how Northern’s operations could be improved to provide a better customer experience.
During the pandemic, Charlotte’s expertise was fundamental to Northern’s business continuity as she developed systems and processes that delivered nearly 7,000 days of critical driver training and six major timetable changes.
She commented on her nomination:
“I’m thrilled to be nominated for such a fantastic award, it’s really very unexpected. The rail industry is such an interesting place to be starting my career and I am learning so much about operations, management, and planning. Everyone at Northern has been so supportive and I can’t thank them enough for the encouragement and guidance. It has been a challenging time for customers and colleagues, and I hope that the work I have done has improved their journeys and daily work experience. I have loved getting stuck in. I’m looking forward to learning more and I’m really excited for the awards ceremony. It’s tough competition but fingers crossed.”
Northern’s efforts to make the business a great place to work for everyone have been recognised in the Diversity and Inclusion category. In what has traditionally been a male environment, Northern has made great efforts to reflect all the communities it serves; in particular, it has aimed to attract more women into the industry. Those efforts are reflected in the numbers of women working at Northern which have increased by 30% overall, and by 15% within its engineering departments.
Other inclusive initiatives have included BAME awareness training, blind recruitment sifting, introduction of menopause and domestic violence policies, transgender awareness, and engagement and training for managers to support colleagues participating in Ramadan.
Northern is also committed to sustainably improving the environment. The award judges were impressed with schemes such as all-in-one waste trolleys at maintenance depots, recycling hundreds of tonnes of paper from onboard trains that led to charity donations, and specially-designed sensors on waste bins that can be monitored remotely so that wagon removals are only scheduled when bins are full, ensuring that unnecessary road journeys are avoided.
Speaking of the nominations, Northern’s Chief Operating Officer, Tricia Williams said: “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted in three categories for the upcoming Rail Business Awards. The awards recognise excellence across the UK rail industry and there is always intense competition for the much-wanted accolades. We are immensely excited for Charlotte, who joined us as a student and has made a fantastic impact in our business and for our customers. She is an exceptional candidate, and we will be cheering her on all the way. We are also really proud of the ongoing work we are doing to make Northern a great place to work for everyone and the efforts we are making to ensure our natural environment is looked after for the long term. We look forward to the winners being announced.”
The winners of the Rail Business Awards will be announced in February 2022.