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People first

Working lives - Skill shortages

'I look for people who have experience of working in a safety critical environment, and have a disciplined and structured approach to work, ' states Tubelines business operation planning manager Salim Ahmed.

'People with these three qualities tend to do very well in the rail industry.'

He hired services leavers Dave Stokoe and Nigel Thompson as resource managers in May and is pleased with his decision.

'Dave and Nigel originally applied for technical officer posts but it was very clear they had a lot more to offer so I promoted them before they had even started and hired them as safety resource managers.

Stokoe joined Tubelines after 23 years with the army, specialising in army aviation with the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, while Thompson was previously chief petty officer in the Royal Navy.

'Working at Tubelines is not that dissimilar to working in the forces, though finding the right level to pitch your skills and experience in relation to the jobs available was initially very difficult, ' says Stokoe.

'McGinley helped us turn rail speak into military language and vice-versa so that we knew what roles to go for. We both applied for the technical officer posts on the basis that, as soon as Tubelines understood our experience, there would be appropriate jobs available.'

'Managerial skills learnt within the forces, especially man management, have proved invaluable, ' adds Thompson.

Both see strong similarities between the rail sector and the armed forces.

'Rail engineering is extremely busy and, like the military, it can be extremely challenging with unusual hours, ' says Stokoe 'There's also a cultural similarity in that you get out what you put in.

That appeals.'

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