On 15 September 2021, after 18 months of virtual meetings, a growth in online events and months of home working, 550 delegates from across the UK rail sector rallied at Newark Showground to attend the sixth Big Rail Diversity Challenge.
As industry charity Women in Rail’s annual flagship event, The Big Rail Diversity Challenge is the only rail industry event showcasing the diversity the UK railway industry is seeking to achieve, with teams being gender balanced and comprising people from diverse background including (and by no means limited to) race, ethnicity, religion, gender, socio economic background, and any form of disability.
Delegates took part in a plethora of physically and mentally demanding challenges – including Build a Scarecrow, Haka and It’s a Knockout! – aiming to show that gender balanced, and diverse teams work better together, are more innovative and creative, and to raise awareness of the business benefits of fostering a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture.
“The Big Rail Diversity Challenge is an important step in the rail industry agenda. It openly demonstrates that the rail industry is a dynamic, creative and exciting sector and, by encouraging participants to work together in gender balanced and diverse teams, it outlines rail’s commitment to improving diversity within its workforce and to fostering a more inclusive culture. The event is also a great fun and a fantastic way to team build and network with peers and colleagues, regardless of their grade and role!” comments Adeline Ginn MBE, Founder of Women in Rail.
Amongst the challenge suppliers, rail industry charity Railway Benefit Fund had participants supporting one another through the toughest of times, blindfolded and carrying ‘beans’ through an inflatable obstacle course as part of their Bring on the Beans challenge, whilst British Transport Police had teams ‘Look Beyond the Obvious’ whilst uncovering hidden rail stations amongst ice creams, sandcastles and other coastal attractions in a beautiful bespoke drawing, courtesy of one of their artistic colleagues.
After a tiring day of balloon modelling, Broadway routines, and countless inflatables, awards were presented, with special thanks to the event’s Headline Sponsor, CPMS – Egis and Key Challenge Sponsor, Morson Group.