Interview with Charley Whitelock

Community Relations Apprentice at Costain

What does your role consist of and what is a typical day?

My job role is to manage the relationship and minimise negative impacts between the implementation of our construction works and local stakeholders. This is achieved by keeping local stakeholders informed of our progress and any likely disruptions. It also involves supporting and organising community investment projects. Every day is different, whether it involves reporting, producing news articles, engaging with the project teams or preparing for community events.

How did you get in to rail?

I left school after my GCSEs as I was not interested in going to university; my mind was set on starting work and earning money.  I joined a recruitment company in a resourcer role and then moved into a full time position recruiting rail engineers overseas. I did this for almost two years and was keen to develop my career further. Following a referral from a friend, Costain offered me the opportunity to complete a higher level apprenticeship in public relations, taking my journey into the industry and to the next step.

What is it about the industry you love?

I like the process of being a part of a project as it develops, there is real pride in working on a major infrastructure project and seeing it transform. I also love how my engineering knowledge has developed about the industry. A big part of my job is immersing myself in overcoming engineering challenges and communicating the information with our stakeholders.

What do you see as the challenges to attracting more women into rail, and what do you think has been done to make a difference?

I feel there is a lack of knowledge about what the industry can offer to young people, especially women. I wasn’t provided with information on the construction and engineering industry whilst I was in school (only being 21 now!), all I knew was that construction workers wore hard hats.

There are many roles and opportunities within the industry both office and site based which are not talked about enough at educational level.

 

Interviewed August 2016