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WG7 – Output 7: Strategies for Making the Railway Sector More Attractive to Young Professionals

Start date: 01/09/2020
End date: 24/08/2023
Leading organisation: Universidad de Málaga
Participating organisations: Aston University, Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, EURNEX e.V., Zilinska univerzita v Ziline, Sveuciliste u Zagrebu, Technische Hochschule Wildau.

Aim of the WG

The aim of the WG was to put on an effective campaign to look for public engagement, raising awareness and outreach to promote careers in the railway sector.

General Description of the Work Done

Throughout the working group a series of activities were planned to develop a strategy for the promotion of the railway sector and to propose approaches to improve the attractiveness of the railway industry for young professionals. These activities included:

  • An online questionnaire was disseminated between 2022 and 2023 to find out what is current awareness about rail-oriented careers opportunities and other important factors related to the perception of the railway mode of transport. More than 1000 responses were recorded.
  • Review of promotional messages of the current undergraduate and postgraduate programs related to studies in the railway sector at the universities that are members of the ASTONRail Project.
  • Analysis of the profile of generation Z as a priority public of WG7.
  • Organization of 5 Focus Groups in Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Spain and UK. Members of generation Z were invited to join this activity to delve into the results of the questionnaire related to the use of the train, their future job expectations and the contribution of the railway sector to sustainability.

As a result of these 4 activities to obtain information about the sector and the target audience, a dissemination plan has been developed for which the key messages, strategies, actions and tactics, and the evaluation proposal have been designed.

Main Results

In this WG we have proposed a series of strategies and key messages aimed at the main audience of our project: students and young rail professionals. As a result of the questionnaire distributed, we identified that young Europeans, although they are users of the railway sector, are unaware of the opportunities that this sector can offer them, especially among women and students of other disciplines (social sciences, humanities,…). For this reason, after an initial investigation that allowed us to find out the state of the art and the knowledge of our target audience, we developed a plan to promote careers in the railway sector and to engage with female profiles and to encourage students from different disciplines.
Specifically, three main key messages have been established to be transmitted in all the actions carried out by the WG7 work team:

  • A non-stop future for young people
  • A sustainable future
  • Join the collective revolution

To achieve this WG goal, five strategies were implemented and a series of actions were designed, many of which have been tested and put into practice. These strategies were:

  • Strategy 1: Learning by doing
  • Strategy 2: Testimonials
  • Strategy 3: Manage communication
  • Strategy 4: Teaching materials
  • Strategy 5: Allies/Partnerships (network)

Within this strategic framework, we designed the following actions:

Two Hackathons were carried out. The first one was developed with young professionals (Zilina University, Slovakia – online, 2021) while the second one was focused on undergraduate and postgraduate students (University of Málaga, Spain – face-to-face, 2022). In the first one, participants were challenged to provide the sector with new technological solutions to make the sector more resilient in the face of future crises and pandemics. The aim of the second one was to improve the experience of traveling by train/metro.
These contests were organized with allied entities such as UIC and RIH and supported by the Office of the Vice President for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the University of Malaga.

Worldcafe Women in the railway sector (world coffee methodology):
Two editions were held at the University of Malaga (Spain) in 2022 and 2023 respectively, to promote professional opportunities in the sector and value the figure of female professionals who work in it.
These events were carried out with the collaboration of allied entities such as RIH, Siemens, Metro Malaga, Vectalia Rail, IGIUMA and were supported by the Office of the Vice President for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Office of the Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Social Action and the School of Engineerings of the University of Malaga.

Initial contact with companies and professional associations:
UMA, Railway Innovation HUB, Siemens, Vectalia, Metro Málaga, REEL-AEI, UIC, IGIUMA, to generate a network of contacts and collaborations.

Development of teaching materials inspired in the railway sector as a case study at the University of Malaga (pretest function):
Transport Engineering (Msc. in Industrial Engineering); Railway Engineering (Msc. in Advanced Mechanical Engineering); Intelligent Transport Systems and Advanced Vehicles Technologies (Msc. in Intelligent Transport Systems); Introduction to Public Relations (BA of Media Studies); Transmedia in Advertising (MsD. in Strategic Management and Innovation in Communication)

Design of new methodologies and strategies to engage with students:
Development of an experimental class based on flipped learning, collaborative learning, and design thinking to teach about rolling stock (UMA and KTH universities) and inspire students with new teaching approaches.

As a second goal, the work of WG7 has also focused on promoting the sector's contribution to the SDGs, the 2030 Agenda and sustainability. Specifically, with the activities carried out we have contributed to objectives 4, 5, 11 and 12.

Documents for Download

A summary of the working group can be found here.

astonrail_handbook/astonrail_project/wg7.txt · Last modified: 2023/06/26 13:16 by anne-katrin_o