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Working lives

Martin Gallacher, 25, works for Corus Rail Consultancy's Dublin office and is assistant project manager on Kildare route capacity improvements.

Route to Job

I joined the Railway Training Scheme in June 1992 in Glasgow.

Six months later, I got my first full time position within the buildings management section of British Rail, as a technical officer and undertook a day release HNC in civil engineering.

I was offered a job with Railtrack Scotland in April 1994 to carry out structural assessment bridge work.

In 1997 I was promoted to the Permanent Way section of Railtrack to undertake the role of gauging engineer. This entailed managing an annual budget of £200,000 to ensure the safe passage of existing and proposed rolling stock within the existing infrastructure.

I am now assistant project manger for Corus Rail Consultancy Dublin office after joining the former CEDG in York, last October as a permanent way engineer.

Expectations

My aspirations on accepting the post were to become more commercially aware from a supplier's point of view, to increase my knowledge of multi-disciplinary railway engineering and, of course, to earn more money. I wanted to join a company where my opinion would matter and I thought Corus could offer opportunities to develop. I hoped for a 'hands on' role as before I just managed contracts.

The Reality

Corus has five offices throughout the UK and Ireland. My role within the major projects team allows me to be involved in a number of projects varying from the clearance of tilting trains as part of the West Coast route modernisation, based in York, to a route remodeling scheme in Ireland. I have been involved in design and build, partnering and time related contracts, which has allowed me to develop not only as an engineer but also in project management.

Advice

I am a firm believer that people should not be afraid to ask questions. No matter how trivial they may seem, it will be to everybody's benefit. Do not allow yourself to be constrained, push yourself and if a company does not meet your expectations then seek fresh challenges. There are benefits to be gained from education and job experience running in parallel, but qualifications are vital to ensure a level of progression within the railway industry.

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