CIRO Bulletin May 2022 Issue 49 May 2022



In this issue


Journeys in Rail - Careers Profiles
A collection of career profiles of CIRO members
Rail Ops Conference 2022
A look forward at what to expect from this year ’ s Rail Ops Conference



CIRO ’ s Pathways Programme - Three Bridges ROC
A discussion with Tim McCarthy , GTR on working with CIRO to create their Three Bridges ROC training programme
Network Rail Roles in Rail Day
CIRO partnered with Network Rail to host the first Roles in Rail day for graduates .


From Student to Graduate to Tutor !

Each year , the institution celebrates right alongside our hard-working students as they graduate from our academic programme in Railway Operations Management with Glasgow Caledonian University ( GCU ).
Whether it be at Certificate , Diploma or Degree level , graduating from the programme signifies the end of a demanding , but ultimately fruitful period for our students . It also acts as the official end of their studies and presents the opportunity to ponder ; what might be next for them ?
CIRO utilise the opportunity to maintain contact with our students after they graduate , predominately as members of the institution . This has seen our graduates involve themselves with our area councils , area events , mentoring scheme , short courses but also by re-joining the academic programme as tutors . In the spirit of this , we are thrilled to confirm that two of our latest graduates have recently been approved as tutors by our academic partner GCU .
As graduates of the programme , our latest tutors will be able to empathise with the student experience of this course , which involves juggling both work and personal lives with academic study . They will join our
Saleem Ali ‘ Saleem pictured on the first day of his Degree studies with us at our 2019 course launch event in London ’ already strong tutor team in delivering the academic programme to future students .
Our current tutor body conduct their tutor role whilst simultaneously working in the rail industry , utilising their industry knowledge and operational expertise to ensure a positive and productive learning experience for the students . The institutions ’ latest recruits are no different .
Saleem Ali , Incident Controller at Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre for Network Rail , graduated from his BSc degree in Railway Operations Management with a Distinction just last year . He started by reflecting on his own Degree studies with the institution ; “ I was also able to virtually meet people that had backgrounds in different niche sectors within the rail industry such as Rail Economics . Unless you already have experience in these sectors , you wouldn ’ t have the insights or understanding of each niche . The degree gave me the opportunity that I wouldn ’ t usually have to compare responsibilities with individuals from the rail industry all over the world .”
Saleem ’ s fellow degree graduate Samantha Fenwick agreed that she too was looking to expand her knowledge across operations when she signed up for the programme , saying ; “ Having only had a few years under my belt in the rail industry , all in operations , I was conscious that I only had knowledge of working in my own silo , in one route , in one organisation . I wanted to gain a better understanding of the industry , as a whole , so that I could perform better in my day-to-day role due to that more systemic understanding of how things work and why . I also wanted to improve my business management skills to support future career progression .”
Samantha works as a System Thinking Specialist for Network Rail and graduated from the Degree level of our academic programme alongside Saleem in 2021 . During their studies , both Saleem and Samantha had to adjust to an online delivery of the programme in light of the COVID pandemic , Samantha reflected ; “ It was challenging at times , especially given the pandemic started part-way through the first year of the degree resulting in a swift migration to online tuition . I found being organised in setting aside time , setting dates and small goals helped me to see the progress I was making to maintain momentum and keep my motivation . We also had a great cohort that supported each other .”
Working with our lead tutors , the institution adapted tutorials that were originally planned for classroom-based delivery , to ensure students would still be able to participate in a collaborative way , online . Saleem felt that this worked well ; “ CIRO ’ s tutors did a really good job adjusting to the situation and provided a quality learning experience , despite the challenges .”
Having now graduated from the programme , Samantha reflects on her student experience with positivity whilst acknowledging the encouraging impact the qualification has had on her working life . “ I feel it was well worth the investment , I have confidence working across different functions and with different operators because I understand context . I also feel it has supported my wider professional development in terms of business acumen .”
As he begins his transition from student to now tutor , Saleem shared similar views to Samantha when thinking back over his studies with CIRO ; “ I thoroughly recommend CIRO to anyone looking to pursue qualifications alongside their employment . I
Sam Fenwick : ‘ Samantha works as a Systems Thinking Specialist for Network Rail ’
learnt a great deal and I ’ m looking forward to applying the expertise throughout my career .”
Saleem knows the importance of having good tutor support ; “ I ’ m very lucky to have the tutors that I did as they made the course intriguing even though it was online-based .” Now , both Samantha and Saleem will be moving into the tutor role as a way of giving something back to the academic programme and being able to support current and future students . Samantha too admits that she is looking forward to starting this new challenge ; “ I believe that vocational and practical courses such as this can only continue to be relevant and beneficial if they have the right support from people within the industry . On a personal level I have always enjoyed training and coaching others and am really looking forward to working with future students to learn from their thoughts and experiences across the industry too .”
The tutor role is an essential one and will involve both graduates staying in regular contact with their assigned students , acting as subject matter experts and supporting learners through each module . Samantha and Saleem will be responsible for providing both formal and informal feedback to students across the programme , which in turn will help to ensure our students can one day join them as graduates of the programme .
Further information
Would you like to follow in the footsteps of Samantha and Saleem ? Are you looking to challenge yourself and gain an industry specific higher education qualification ? The next intake of our academic programme will launch in October and applications are now open . If you would like to discuss submitting an application , or would like further information , please contact learning @ railwayoperators . co . uk .