Tech Industry Gold student work shadows Network Rail


Nineteen talented Tech Industry Gold undergraduates earned the opportunity to work shadow a digital business leader at a recent event for students, universities, and employers organised by Tech Partnership Degrees.

As one of the unique benefits for students of industry-accredited Tech Industry Gold degrees, each of these students will spend a day with a CEO from the IT industry, or the head of technology (CIO or CTO) from leading companies across the economy.

The shadowing opportunities were awarded as spot prizes to individuals who particularly stood out for their talent and motivation at the Tech Partnership Degrees’ event held in Reading in March 2018.

Thanks to the support of DWP, Fujitsu, Jaguar Land Rover, Telefonica, Capgemini, OpenReach, Network Rail, Digital Catapult, Accenture, DXC Technology, National Grid, Quicksilva, NHS, IBM, Met Police, Mullen Lowe Group, BT, and TATA Consultancy Services for making these opportunities possible.

Saabeh Shafique is studying the BSc IT Management for Business (ITMB) degree course at Oxford Brookes, accredited by industry through Tech Partnership Degrees. The Tech Industry Gold degree course has given him the opportunity to work shadow Susan Cooklin, Managing Director, of Network Rail.

We caught up with Saabeh, on a balmy summer’s evening, where he reflected on his unique work shadowing experience.

I had a great day at Network Rail. Susan Cooklin and all the staff made me feel very welcome and I learned some interesting facts about the world of tech and transport. A wonderful combination! I found out how Network Rail is run and how they report and measure their performance which is an integral part of the organisation.

My day started off at 9 am. I was given an overview of the organisation and details of the structure of the day. I heard about the organisation’s values, culture, and coverage. I found this really fascinating. Did you know that Network Rail covers 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges and viaducts and thousands of tunnels, signals, level crossings and points? I continued to learn some interesting statistics throughout my day which I had never really thought about before.

I then met with many people from different departments. What I found particularly interesting was observing the communications between colleagues, how they interact with each other, and how meetings are planned and executed. I learned a lot about project planning in these meetings and what really struck me was the importance of contingency. It’s such an integral part of project planning – planning for every eventuality.

I also had the opportunity to hear about various roles and how employees decided that the transport industry was right for them.

At the end of the day, I found out more information about Network Rail’s graduate scheme and how I could apply for a future role.

Overall, the experience showed me how large organisations operate, how they execute plans before deadlines, and how they implement a contingency plan for any uncertainties that may occur.

Here are three things I learned which I hope will help me with my future career:

1. Always plan a business goal

2. Try to make precise decisions

3. How to develop an IT strategy for a company

Finally, thank you Susan and all of Network Rail for spending time with me and providing me with great insights into the working world.

The work shadow experience was made possible by Tech Partnership Degrees and Network Rail.

Find out more about Tech Industry Gold degrees