Adedayo: Graduate Engineer at Network Rail

Adedayo: Graduate Engineer at Network Rail

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I started in 2018 straight from university. The graduate scheme enables me to learn as much about the railway as possible. I go on different placements, explore different areas of the company, I meet lots of different people, attend conferences and seminars and begin my professional development, so I can see where in the company I fit into and where I can get the most out of my career.

Why is now the best time to be an Engineer?

We have a shortage of engineers in this country, around the world really, and with the way the world is moving and developing, there is a big need for people with technological skills. To come into engineering at this time would mean that you get to, especially coming into Network Rail, learn from some absolutely worldwide-class experts. New ideas and new people will absolutely benefit and will be essential to taking the railway into the 22nd and 23rd Centuries.

What do you love about your job?

It’s about learning and trying to be better every day. Just trying to improve upon what I know, be very aware of what I don’t know and have no fear and just go for it.

Did you have any role models growing up?

I can’t say I had one role model but I did take elements from people that I respected or liked. From Obama, for instance, I like the way he spoke to people and he communicated. From Olympic athletes, I like their dedication to something they wouldn’t necessarily get the prize and praise for, but they did it for themselves.

What advice would you give a young person?

You need to make sure you don’t just let life happen. Make sure you’re aware of what life is and where you are now. That way, you can achieve and do what you want to do. To learn as much as possible. To listen more than you speak, to ask questions when you don’t understand. Because it’s not just you, it’s 10 or 20 other people as well. It’s okay to get things wrong, there are people there to watch your back.

What would you tell a young Engineer who’s doubting themselves?

It’s natural. If you think you know everything about what you’re doing, you’re probably not doing something that’s pushing you or that you’re learning from. Challenges are what make you good at your job. When you finally overcome them, you gain all the learnings and teachings. It’s good to struggle. Just keep on trying and if you need help ask around, because everyone’s gone through it at some point. There’s always someone there to help.

What was your first day of your engineering degree like?

I remember walking inside the lecture hall and I couldn’t tell that it was engineering because everyone was just different. I looked around, there as a guy that was just massive – absolute weightlifter – in the corner, there were football fans you could hear talking about their fantasy league, there were just different people all together all at once and I thought, “is this really engineering?”. And then when the lecture started, everyone was focused and just looking at the board. “Okay, this is where I’m meant to be.”

What would you like to have achieved in 10 years?

I hope to be in the position where I’ve worked abroad, because that’s one of my main focuses now. I want to work abroad and just experience the global railway. It’s a worldwide industry and this country holds some of the best railway experts. I also hope I’m in a position where I’ve learnt my craft, managed to hone it more.

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What do you hope the railway will look like by the time you retire?

I would like to think by the time I’ve retired, we’ve left the railway in a place where it’s resilient and meets the needs of the current climate, the current situation. We know with global warming that we’re going to face even greater challenges.

Why is it important to have a diverse workforce and to feel you can be yourself at work?

There’s 40,000-plus people who work at Network Rail and every person is different. It’s very important that you can be yourself, because you develop professionally and personally at the same time. Diversity is essential if you want to actually improve something to the best quality. You’re unique in the way you think and the way you process things and in what you might say as well. Your experiences have so much value when you can actually bring them and share with your people. Every part of you has so much value and can add so much.

What surprised you about the railway?

The huge size of the industry and just how much of a part of everyday life it is. When you’re actually part of it you can see how much work and dedication and expertise goes into it. It helps you just to appreciate more and more that there are so many people in rail who care about what they do and want to do the best job possible. The attention to detail surprised me as well, and the paramount focus on safety throughout the industry. How important it was that we were able to work, feel safe as we did so and improve – on a daily basis – the processes to make sure everyone comes home safe.