Tom Male

MEng Computer Interactive Systems with Industrial Year, 2013
Programme Controller, Network Rail

I manage the readiness process that Network Rail uses to prepare ahead of completing major engineering works on the railway at weekends and bank holidays. I work closely with our project engineering teams to ensure that their projects are ready to be delivered and that they have measures in place such as contingency plans should they encounter any problems.

The work might include replacing bridges or structures, upgrading the signalling equipment or renewing the track. I also work with our operations teams, the people who run the railway on a day-to-day basis, to ensure that they fully understand what engineering work we’re undertaking.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?

I get to see some really interesting engineering projects being delivered on the railway with a lot of variety. My job also carries quite a lot of responsibility, so I find myself working with a huge variety of people from project managers and engineers, all the way up to board level.

tom male

What made you interested in your current role?

I like the variety and the ability to drop in and out of lots of different projects.

How has your career developed since graduating?

I’ve stayed with Network Rail since graduating in 2013 but have had a number of different jobs. I actually started out on a Year In Industry with Network Rail between my third and fourth years at Birmingham, then returned on the IT graduate scheme. I’ve since moved roles several times to reach my current position.

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?

I really liked the campus and the City having visited both several times before applying. My course was also fairly unique at the time I applied.

What are your fondest memories of the University?

I have many fond memories, but in particular some of the really interesting modules I studied, walking to lectures across the campus during the autumn, and of course the friends I made on my course and whilst I worked at the Guild of Students.

We Are (Third Width)

Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

I was a member of a few different societies, but I also worked part time at the Guild of Students in their Technical Services department. I got to work on some really big gigs both on and off campus and I still occasionally return to help out, even today.

How did your time at university help you start your career?

It provided me with great experience in managing my own time and my priorities well, but my course also provided me with a lot of the practical skills that you need in the workplace, such as working within teams and various professional/management skills.

What advice would you give to current students?

Keep an open mind with regard to your career path and take opportunities when you are presented with them, even if they aren’t what you originally planned!

Wise words from Tom

“Make the most of your time at Birmingham, it passes really quickly!”