Interview with Mary Roberts

Company Director at CAT 1 Safety Training

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

There is no such thing as a typical day, there is always a new challenge. I start at 7am and check the emails from the night before, make sure all the staff and students have what they need for the day, have a briefing with my managers to find out if there are any problems that need to be solved, attend meetings, organise track layouts. Sometimes I have engagements at schools and colleges to promote women in the rail industry. A real variety!

What would you say is the achievement you are most proud of?

Starting my own rail company and getting people who had low aspirations and were unemployed back to work and watching their confidence grow. I have watched people’s lives change because of getting back into employment which is terrific.

In your career, what is the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

My first challenge was becoming the first women trainer to deliver protection training in an extremely male orientated work place. The second and biggest challenge I had to overcome was being taking seriously by a large corporation and showing them I could deliver on my promises.

What advice would you give to young women / other women working in rail?

Support each other, listen to problems, never give up and “eat the elephant in small pieces”.  It is doable. The path has been laid for women in the rail industry. Our first London Underground woman driver was in the 60’s and now it’s the norm, but I would like to see more women in every aspect of the railway industry not just in certain pockets.

 

Interviewed August 2016