On 22 June 2022, companies representing the UK’s rail industry came together at Newark Showground to participate in the seventh annual Big Rail Diversity Challenge.
First held in 2016, The Big Rail Diversity Challenge has truly captured the hearts and minds of the industry – demonstrating the passion, support and enthusiasm for the brilliant work that Women in Rail undertakes. Growing by a staggering 80% since its launch, The Big Rail Diversity Challenge has become a staple in the industry’s event calendar, with many key industry stakeholders supporting year on year.
As one of charity Women in Rail’s annual flagship events, The Big Rail Diversity Challenge is the only team based rail event showcasing the diversity the UK railway industry is seeking to achieve. The challenges are designed to promote the message that diverse teams work better together, with companies taking part in a series of physical, mental and skill-based sessions to include; Catwalk Challenge, The Great Diversity Bake Off, Human Table Football, River Rescue, the Mighty Quiz and Diversity Dance Off. Designed to put teams communication and teamwork skills to the test, the challenges are developed to ensure that everyone has a role to play.
Christine Fernandes, Chair of Women in Rail and Business Development for CAF said, “The Big Rail Diversity Challenge is not just another rail event. It is a fantastic initiative that actively promotes and strengthens the awareness of diversity and inclusion within the rail industry. The event provides a unique opportunity to foster teamwork and collaboration, in a fun and interesting way – ensuring that our message and aim to promote more EDI across the sector – far outlasts the day and continues back into the workplace.”
The event is supported by many key industry bodies, organisations and charities; The British Transport Police returned for a third year to deliver the ‘Look Beyond the Obvious’ challenge – designed to support a cross industry campaign which encourages officers and rail staff to use their professional curiosity in order to safeguard people they may encounter on the rail network.
The 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 the Railway Children charity had teams constructing a one person shelter using basic materials that could be available to a child living on the streets.
After a tiring day of code breaking, Broadway routines, and countless inflatables, awards were presented, with special thanks to the event’s Headline Sponsor, Egis and Challenge Sponsor BTTC.