Aaron Rail’s Nicole Gill paves the way for women in rail

Discussing her transition from an office-based role to a rail compound supervisor, Aaron Rail’s Nicole Gill talks about site setup and security, Close Calls and getting through night shifts during the freezing weather!


As a relative newcomer to the rail industry, becoming a compound supervisor at Aaron Rail was a complete career change for me and quite a steep learning curve. In addition to that, I know I initially also raised a few eyebrows undertaking this role.


I first started on the Bromley Street blockade during the Christmas of 2021 working as SAC, Site Access Control.


This role manages fatigue of the workforce, ensuring that full PPE is worn at all times and that all competences required are in date to work on track.


It was during this time I learnt and observed a lot about the various contractors and roles within and supporting the TRU West upgrade.


In particular, the role of the compound supervisor had caught my eye and in turn motivated me to rethink my career path.


I initially decided that I would train and gain my SIA licence to enable me to become a security guard for Aaron Rail. This again enabled me to gain a much greater insight and become more familiar with the track access points, compounds and general knowledge around the W1 & 2a phases of works based around the Manchester area.


During this time, I additionally worked on gaining the required training for this role, most importantly my Personal Track Safety (PTS) to enable me to apply to become a compound supervisor.


Throughout my career I have worked mainly in office-based administration roles, front of house and customer service but felt that after many years of doing this that I needed a new and more diverse challenge.


Whilst rail is generally a very male-orientated industry, I do feel that as a female I bring different qualities, strengths and a different dynamic to the team and perhaps a little more empathy, (she says with a smile)!


The role of a compound supervisor is quite diverse, and my duties often vary on a daily and weekly basis.


We assist and support the compound management team and Principal Contractors (PCs) with many diverse tasks specific to site set up and demobilisation, running, safety and site maintenance.


I have thoroughly loved the past, soon to be two years in my new role. Every day brings new challenges and I take pride in looking after the sites I work on and assisting all my colleagues where I can.


I have recently been recognised for a National Rail Safety Award (NRSA) for a ‘Close Call’ I raised last year for a serious safety issue which I dealt with, which I was really proud to receive.


Night shifts can be tough- I think most of us would much rather be tucked up in bed, especially when its freezing, wet and dark, but camaraderie and working with a great team makes all the difference.


Challenging third parties is also not the easiest task but I always pride myself with being firm but fair and I also think a smile goes a long way to breaking down barriers.


Dave Barnett and the team at Aaron Rail have encouraged and supported my development and progression which has enabled me to achieve the role that I set my sights on.


Moving forward I am keen to gain a greater insight with ‘on track works’ and hope to get the opportunity to fulfil this in the future.


For more information on Aaron Rail visit aaronengineeringgroup.com/aaron-rail/

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