The Rail Forum Midlands Annual Conference is always a highlight in the Qinesis calendar. We are honoured to be Silver Sponsors & have enjoyed going to the Conference for the last few years.
Not only is it always a fun excuse to get out of the office, meet up with old friends & make new acquaintances but there are always interesting & educational talks. It was a shame this year had to be moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was still a great event.
The theme this year, Planning for the Journey Ahead, intended to help everyone get to grips with what the future of rail will look like & identify where opportunities will be, especially for SMEs in the region.
The changes to the industry brought about due to the COVID-19 pandemic were addressed along with new reforms that are expected to follow. A big part of the conference was the decarbonisation of the rail industry & the road to net zero transport. The role of SMEs in the future of rail along with wellbeing in rail were of particular importance to us.
With environmental concerns rising, it was good to hear that while rail already is one of the lowest emission modes of transport, plans are still in place to further decarbonise the industry. Especially regarding freight travel, the Rail Forum is challenging SMEs to contribute to make it cleaner & greener.
Qinesis is an SME in the East Midlands that focuses on helping STEM SMEs grow. So, to hear the focus Network Rail is planning to put on the role of local SMEs in the industry was particularly encouraging. It will be reviewing its supply chain to bring SMEs into tier 1 & tier 2 suppliers, opening many prospects for local SMEs to engage directly with Network Rail without the need for intermediates. Occasions for SME collaborations & the upskilling of SMEs for greater opportunities were also discussed.
One other major topic of discussion that resonated deeply with us was wellbeing in rail. Wellbeing, especially in the workplace, is a big issue of concern for Qinesis & we consider it a key driver for shaping a company culture. We are strong believers that a focus on the 5 pillars of wellbeing, physical, mental, community, social & financial, will create a company culture that supports all members of the team while serving employee retention.
As a male dominated sector, the rail industry often suffers from a stigma against wellbeing. We are glad to see that wellbeing in the industry is starting to be focused on. We also believe that increased diversity in the industry will help destigmatise wellbeing & mental health along with the many other benefits diversity encourages. One of our great passions at Qinesis is to encourage more girls & women into STEM careers including the rail industry.
We are looking forward to the Rail Wellbeing Live event on Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 November 2020. It promises to be an exciting event that will aim to change the rail industry for the better & we can’t wait to be involved & help in any way that we can.