Network Rail’s Emerging Leaders Programme

Year-long strategic projects with charities to develop leadership skills and deliver positive social outcomes.

Network Rail’s Emerging Leaders Programme aims to train and support participants in business areas related to strategy, performance, and stakeholder engagement to develop excellence in the company’s future leaders. 

Since 2020, we have been supporting this programme by running year-long strategic projects with charities, where these leaders can apply their strategic thinking, action planning, and implementation in a completely new setting. In teams of six, the Network Rail leaders are placed on eight different projects to each support a charity to overcome a challenge or pursue an opportunity, and in the process learn about a social issue of relevance to the rail industry. 

On the 2023 programme, one team worked with Scope, a disability equality charity. They supported the launch of the charity’s new Community Hub in Leeds, helping to develop practical support services for local disabled people and their families.

At White Ribbon, a charity that aims to end violence towards women, a team worked on a project to review and improve their ambassador and champions programme. The initiative will help the charity to engage and influence individuals to advocate and share vital messages across workplaces and communities. 

Over the year-long period, Network Rail’s emerging leaders faced strategic challenges to overcome to deliver positive outcomes for the charities, through which they developed their leadership skills, resilience and stakeholder-management experience. 

Our video highlights the projects, experiences, and learning of participants on the programme.

‘I am truly a better person and leader as a direct result of working with our charity; confident, comfortable with the uncomfortable, able to challenge and empowering others are just to name a few areas of growth’

– David O’Connor (Project Manager at Network Rail)

‘Working on this project has enabled us to work with a big player in the sector and develop the practical evidence base to support theoretical policy change’

– Paul Hetherington (Director of Communications and Fundraising at Buglife)