Supporting diversity in the rail industry

Toni Shepherd, Sales Manager at TRB, shares her thoughts on the rail industry, and why it is an exciting career choice for women.

Toni Shepherd

What’s going on in the UK rail industry?
It’s an exciting time for the rail industry in the UK, with multi-billion-pound projects in production, and new state-of-the-art technologies constantly being developed. The industry is heavily driven by innovation, but there is still an underrepresentation of women within it; encouraging women to pursue a career in rail is an excellent way to broaden the talent pool, and further advance the pace of these ongoing technical developments. I’ve recently joined Women in Rail, an organisation that supports this mission by offering networking opportunities and knowledge sharing for women in the industry. The aim is to break down diversity barriers, change the image of rail and, ultimately, bridge the skill gap.

What is your role within the industry?
I joined the TRB team in 2016 as a Sales Admin Manager and, at the beginning of 2019, my job expanded to Sales Manager. I form part of the team that visits customer sites to offer our expertise, as well as communicating with the engineers in production. We have the perfect winning combination of sales and technical staff and work closely with customers to design, validate and manufacture a selection of interior fittings and doors, that can stand up to the demanding rail environments over the lifetime of the vehicle.

How did you find the transition into your new role?
My new job is much more customer-facing than before. I’ve learnt a lot from my years here on the logistics, planning and production side of things, and now I’m taking that experience and developing my knowledge further by liaising with customers to get to know their needs – I’m learning the whole process. The support in my role is fantastic; it’s so important to have varied and knowledgeable teams within a company to offer the best service to our customers, and I am enjoying getting my face out there and representing women in rail.

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