They Rail-y care about giving young people chance of work

BRINGING flesh blood into the business is now an essential part of the culture of Railcare.

And with high youth unemployment becoming a major issue, the company is keen to champion the benefits of young people to business in general.

David Hilliard training manager with team at Rail care Wolverton

David Hilliard training manager with team at Rail care Wolverton

That commitment to shaping the future of the organisation won the business, based in Stratford Road, Wolverton, the Excellence in People Development category at last year’s Milton Keynes & North Bucks Business Excellence Awards.

Railcare employs six new apprentices every year in both the engineering and the office side of the company.

It refurbishes and repairs equipment used in the rail industry as well as holding stock for customers and repairing damaged trains.

It's also famous for working on the Royal Train and has been visited by the Queen three times, including once in 1948 when the then Princess Elizabeth visited the site.

But since opening 170 years ago, Railcare has been through many changes, including privatisation in the 1980s.

But David Hilliard, the site’s training and development manager says the situation now is just getting back to the days when the industry was nationalised.

Mr Hilliard, who’s been in the business for 41 years, is passionate about Railcare and the people who work there.

He considers Wolverton his home and the people there his family.

He said: “We lost a lot through privatisation. We lost training facilities and courses, which were put on the back-burner."

But now the organisation is two years into a five-year plan with apprentices at the core.

The simple idea is to bring talented people in and develop them as managers in a thought out way of ensuring there’s a good succession plan in place. But it doesn't stop there, even managers with vast experience are continually trained. And there is nothing to stop a young person accelerating through the ranks, with career paths mapped out for them.

Mr Hilliard is the first to admit there has been some resistance to change but that goes when people see the benefit of new blood in the organisation.

The keen historian said: “I am passionate about Wolverton and in keeping this place going after I am gone.

“I would say to any business they should give apprentices a chance.”

l To see Natalee Hazelwood’s video profile of Railcare, visit www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/business