Following the success of the Young Rail Professionals Pitching Competition, the AusRAIL organising committee launched the Next Generation Conference Scholarship program in 2017 to specifically engage with rail sector personnel aged 25yrs and under. The committee was delighted by the quality of entries from recent and current graduates who shared their innovative ideas on how to market and promote the rail industry in a positive and impactful way, as well as educating the broader community’s perception of the benefits of rail.

Congratulations to the 2017 winners!

Alice Jordan-Baird, Project Advisor, Corporate Affairs & Communications, Transdev
Idea: Reinventing the face of transport

“Millennials, like myself, don’t think of transport as an appealing industry when leaving school, TAFE or university – and that presents a huge problem. Our greatest challenge as an industry is that we are unknown, perceived to be old fashioned, tradition and unionised.

The need to diversify and promote the rail industry is gaining some momentum, with operator, industry and government coming together in support of promoting transport as a viable career option to the younger generation. To do this, we need to meet the next generation where they’re at.

I believe we should focus on targeting classrooms, hosting workshops and promoting our industry in lecture halls through industry partnerships with schools, TAFE and universities. With a focus on targeting STEM and coding programs.

Like most industries we are being disrupted and it is an exciting time to be part of an industry that is driving innovative changes through the introduction of on demand transport, autonomous vehicles and electric buses. Promoting public transport through this lens will attract millennials to the industry.”

Nicola Chung, Rail Network Analyst, Transport for NSW
Idea: Picking up where Thomas the Tank Engine left off

“Every time I commute by train, there is always a toddler with their noses pressed up onto the glass, eyes wide and hypnotised by the never ending track going past. Evidently, an appreciation for the railways existed. How did this love and awareness for the railways turn into distaste as experienced by the youth and adults of the general community today? Unfortunately, the cartoon Thomas the Tank Engine resonates the most with the younger members of the community and once they grow pass that stage, their only experience of the railways consist of the delays and frustration from their journeys on trains.

My idea that can innovate the way the rail industry is marketed and promoted thus educating the broader community’s perception of rail. This is through extending the interest of the railways experienced by toddlers through to their late teenaged years. Once children grow past the age for watching cartoons, they are engrossed in mobile apps and games. Where Thomas the Tank Engine has left off, the mobile game can continue to build that appreciation. My proposed idea is to create a game in the form of a mobile app where the player is in charge of leading a train through a set of challenges such as a fallen tree on tracks, oncoming rail traffic, speed limits and ultimately they still should be able to get their passengers to their destinations on time.

Further information can be provided in different segments of the game such as what is a track machine and how they maintain the tracks. The player will then understand the multitude of challenges involved in operating the railways and thus educating the broader community’s perception of the benefits of rail.”

Asimina Vanderwert, Graduate Engineer, Metro Trains Melbourne
Idea: Encouraging diversity within the industry

“The next 10 to 20 years will be a busy time within the railways, with massive investment taking place in Australia’s rail infrastructure. This is the perfect time to promote the rail industry within the community, especially with the variety of work and opportunities.

A diverse culture is also critical to achieve this, as it allows for better solutions and ideas for the future. Within the railway, there is still an imbalance between the amount of men and women working within the industry. Encouraging gender balance not only improves the efficiency of the work, but allows new initiatives to be explored and developed for the benefit of the community.

We need to promote the rail industry to young members of the community, as they are more likely to decide their future whilst finishing school. This means presenting at schools, especially female only schools, where students are completing their final year of studies or placements. Exposing the variety of jobs that the rail industry can provide, including technical work, project managing, customer service and train services, will encourage young women to see the railways in a different and more appealing light. This will lead to a better outcome for the communities.

Encouraging young women to start thinking of a career in rail earlier on will allow them to develop the right skills and mindset to ensure they come into the railway eager and determined to continuously provide a safe and growing public transport network.”

Maxim Karpyn, Instrumentation Engineer, Bombardier Transportation Australia
Idea: The feeling of better trains

“He entered the train. The clean smell of it always reminding him the hotels he stays at when he’s on a business trip. He looked at his watch, another twenty minutes. It had already been five years since the government releveled the tracks and now it would only take him another twenty minutes to get to Gembrook. He liked it. He could live in a less crowded country side and work in the busy frenzy of the CBD. He relaxed in his seat as the train drove away from the city. The wifi had already connected to his phone and he figured he just had enough time to watch short TV episode.

A ding, arose his attention. The State-of-the-art screen showed the train slowing down from 200km/h to arrive to Box Hill. Box Hill had grown to become a central hub of the eastern suburbs. The large train could take the new passengers with only a few having to stand up. The train sped up again, soon approaching Ringwood. The Eastern Freeway was jammed as usual. Good god he had plenty of battery. Worse-come-to-worse he could plug in to the train and recharge his battery. The train quickly cut through the Dandenong Ranges and he could see the vineyards of Yarra Valley. He made a note that it was about time to pay them a visit. He almost forgot about the stream when, “The next station is… Gembrook.” He was there. He nodded at the PSOs doing their rounds. They nodded back with a smile. He was home.”

Jase Berry, Graduate Engineer, Shoal Engineering
Lam-Thien Vu, Systems Engineer, Shoal Engineering
Idea: Community focused social media video series

“A social media video series campaign will showcase the rail industry’s positive and impactful benefits to multiple areas of the community. This campaign will highlight rail’s leading-edge technologies, sustainability benefits, and superior user experience offerings. Dissemination of these videos on social media will have the potential to reach a large population. The target audiences are: daily commuters; industry influencers and parliamentarians; and business owners and investors.

The tailored short video series (2-3 mins each) will focus on the benefits (not features) of rail for each target audience. Each series will cover the following benefits: economic; social; career opportunities; safety; and sustainability.

The videos will demonstrate how the rail industry impacts their personal and professional life by presenting it through storytelling of “the day in the life” of someone similar to the target audience. Each video will be focused, relatable, and engaging, and as a collective campaign the breadth of the community’s interests will be addressed. The series will engage the viewer’s emotion through relatable storytelling, and their logic through demonstration of benefits to the person. Furthermore, each video should be produced by different people within the community, such as students or start-up media businesses. This will kick start discussions on the benefits of the rail industry within the community, facilitate collaboration, and encourage young people to work within the rail industry. This is similar to this conference scholarship competition, which has provoked many entrants to think more about rail and seek opportunities to improve the industry. We have seen this collaborative benefit in our brainstorming and discussions process in submitting this response as a team. Through thoughtful and targeted marketing, this campaign will effectively re-brand rail in Australia as the ideal industry with positive impacts and benefits, while bringing the community together in promoting rail.”

Key dates for the 2018 Next Generation Conference Scholarship Program:

  • Monday 21 June: Scholarship program opens
  • Friday 31 August: Deadline for entries
  • Monday 10 September: Winners