Friday 12 Jun 2009

BIG TICKS FOR SOUTHWEST RAIL SAFETY AND TALENT INITIATIVES

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western

Network Rail has been recognised as amongst the best in class in corporate citizenship. It beat off dozens of other top companies to secure two top business awards for its efforts in community safety and nurturing talent.

Successful southwest initiatives, including ‘Streetgames Bristol’, ‘No Messin’ in Weston-Super-Mare and the development of a new specialist vocational training centre in Bristol Parkway, have helped bring the accolades home.

The Business in the Community “Big Tick” is an industry recognised award presented to companies able to demonstrate significant impact and high quality management of their responsible business practices and which can show a positive impact both on society and on the business.

As part of its dedicated community safety programme, Network Rail has been working with local communities to tackle issues around railway crimes. Through the development of new sport and activity-based community clubs and concerted awareness campaign, Network Rail has achieved success in bringing down railway crime with figures dropping by 45%* across the country last year.

In the southwest, majority of the targeted hotspots saw rail crime numbers fall by 27% last year. This achievement owes to grassroots initiatives such as ‘Streetgames Bristol’, which encourages young people to take up sporting activities and learn new bike skills during the evenings and school holidays. Positive feedback from the initiative shows that some young people no longer use shortcuts on the railway.

In addition, Network Rail had held a two-day event at Weston-Super-Mare last summer as part of its ongoing No Messin campaign. The event brought hundreds of young people together and gave them a chance to learn about railway safety and take part in sporting activities.

Network Rail’s dedication to investment in its people has also helped secure the Big Tick award for talent. It has invested in specialist vocational training centres across the country and currently, there is one being developed for the Western route at Bristol Parkway.

These centres provide Network Rail staff with a dedicated base to learn new techniques and update existing skills, playing a pivotal role in the leadership and talent development of Network Rail people.

The award winning advanced apprenticeship scheme which combines personal development with technical training has trained over 200 apprentices over the last year and will train 1,200 additional apprentices in the next five years. In 2009 the company will spend more than £30 million on vocational training and is set to take on 280 graduate recruits, about double last years intake.

Iain Coucher, chief executive, Network Rail said: “Winning the Big Ticks and the silver index award is an excellent achievement of which we are all proud. As a company we believe in investing in our people. Over the last year our commitment to both our employees’ futures and the success of the community safety campaign has proven to be fruitful, achieving great results. Winning these awards underline our commitment to our people and being a good corporate citizen.”

Stephen Howard, chief executive, Business in the Community said: “I congratulate Network Rail on achieving silver in the 2008 Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index. At a time when trust and confidence in businesses is at an all time low, it is examples like this that will help to demonstrate that some businesses are taking the responsibility they have towards their people and the planet seriously and that it makes business sense.”

The company’s Big Tick achievements recently featured in the Financial Times Responsible Business supplement which also lists Network Rail’s attainment of a silver award in the Business in the Community corporate responsibility index, a step up from last year’s bronze award.

Notes to editors

The Big Tick for Community Safety was presented at BitC North West awards celebration event at The Monastery, Manchester on 11 June. The Big Tick for Talent will be presented at BitC London awards celebration event at Whitechapel gallery, London on 22 June. Network Rail has also been short listed for Awards of Excellence in both talent and community safety. The winners for these awards will be announced on 6th July following an awards ceremony at St. James Palace. What is a Big Tick? The Big Tick is awarded to businesses able to demonstrate significant impact and high quality management of their responsible business practices and who can show a positive impact both on society and on the business. The decision to award the Big Tick was made by a panel of independent, experienced practitioners, and as such is both hard won (only 39% of applicants in 2008 were successful), and highly prestigious. What are the awards for excellence? These are the UK’s most influential, independent, peer assessed corporate responsibility awards. Run in association with the Financial Times, the awards recognise and celebrate those companies who have shown innovation, creativity and a sustained commitment to corporate responsibility. http://www.bitc.org.uk

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