6 signs a career in high speed rail could be for you

There’s more to Britain’s biggest project than you realise. And if you’ve played the Plotr game, you maybe realise there’s stuff about yourself that you never knew before... so, could any of these signposts be pointing your way?

1. You want to build on your natural talents

Because everyone knows what their talents are, right? Even if you think you do, try looking into what other talents employers are looking for, you might be surprised to find what other useful talents you have. Or think back to the last thing you were told off for (Talking? Doodling? Spending too long on social media? Doing your Physics homework during Drama class? It might be a clue to what you’re good at…).

One sign of a good job is when you feel all those skills coming together. At HS2 Ltd, we need all sorts of people, who are good at all sorts of things- from every area of the country and from every area of life. So if you want to use lots of talents, not just one, maybe we can help.

2. You want to learn

Learning is in our DNA. But, as Winston Churchill once said, “I’m always ready to learn… I just don’t always want to be taught”. So you’re in good company.

HS2 is a new railway using new technology in new ways. So the things you learn aren’t just new to you, they’re new to almost everyone.

One way to get started is the National College of High Speed Rail: it specialises in professional training, with experts around the world who have actually done the job. You work on real projects – perfect if you like to learn by doing. And you get a work mentor: you tell them what you’re interested in, and they help you with your options and choices.

Being an engineer or a designer often means you keep on studying and training while you work – but it’s the same for lots of jobs that pay well: “got to learn to earn”…

3. You want to create something that people can see and use

Amazing new stations. Trains that feel as smooth as flying. Tunnels and bridges that are shaped to the landscape. HS2 needs all of these. The countdown has started, and we’ve got to work fast.

The secret is all in the planning: how many tonnes of steel for the track? Who designs the bridges? How do you create a new habitat for animals, build a new station, or grow and plant 7 million trees?

When it’s done, there’ll be over a million passengers on HS2 every week. They’ll just enjoy the journey, but you’ll see how it all fits together.

It's like our environmental manager Attiya said: “I didn’t want to be working away in a lab – I wanted to work on something more visible. I love that I see an immediate result of my work.”

4. You love travel

What do you love most? Arriving somewhere new. Weekends away that your friends still talk about. Or just travelling at a hundred metres a second, to the perfect playlist?

HS2 is about creating a whole new way to travel: fast and reliable… and a bit more exciting than normal. It’s for holidays, day trips, shopping trips, birthdays, gigs, sightseeing and football. It brings things closer – so you can be a bit less “can’t go”, and a bit more “see you soon”.

For some engineers, travel is also about where your job takes you. As our route engineer Jo Chau explains, with the right skills and a bit of confidence, it can be an international career. “I’ve worked on different projects, and you see engineers from Spain, Poland, Italy, Malaysia, Australia, all working on the same project. It just shows the exciting global opportunities that engineers have.”

5. You like a challenge

Not many people – ever – have built a high speed railway. If you’re interested, that’s a big step towards working with people who like things that you like, and see the world the way you see it.

But it’s not simple or predictable. It requires top communication skills, top research and engineering skills, and top technology and environmental skills.

So expect it to be interesting, but don’t expect it to be easy. Andrew the route engineer thinks “you should do something every day that scares you.” Not lion-taming, base-jumping scary, but not ‘typical-Monday’ either…

6. You want to love what you do

Can you imagine a job that you enjoy so much, you’d do it even when you’re not at work?

As a geotech engineer, Javier is an expert a few times over: he knows about everything from architectural design to how to test rock samples in a lab. But he’s also worked as a volunteer in Central America, using his engineering skills to build a bridge across a river and make it easier for people from poor communities to travel. Same engineering skills – totally different place.

So – number 7 – if you’d like a job that makes a difference, this might be right for you.

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