Pride Month Q&A: East Midlands Railway
We caught up with Jacob Lane from UK Top Employer East Midlands Railway. Jacob is one of the leads for its LGBT+ Network Stronger Together – in this interview he reveals more about the network, how it contributes to positive change within the organisation, and how they plan to mark Pride Month.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your role at East Midlands Trains?
My name is Jacob Lane, and I am a Duty Depot Manager for East Midlands Railway at Kettering Depot. I have been with East Midlands Railway for a while now - I started off as work experience in between going to college and got a full-time role as a first-class host on our Inter-City trains, where I worked up until February last year when I moved into the fleet team. I am currently studying a Level Four Rail Transport Operations Apprenticeship with the company’s support, and eventually hope to do my degree in Rail Operations.
Tell us about the Stronger Together network?
Stronger Together is one of several employee networks within our company. We are made up of four network leads and represent the LGBTQIA+ community within the business. We are fairly new, like our other networks, but already have achieved some awesome things, such as rolling out pronoun badges alongside our new uniform, to an amazing video on pronouns created by our organisation development & culture manager Amanda, as this was one area highlighted within which more understanding was needed.
Stronger Together work alongside many other Derbyshire and East Midlands based businesses and services as part of the “Derbyshire Network Alliance”. DNA share ideas and best practice between groups to promote diversity and inclusion for LGBTQIA+ colleagues in our collective workplaces. We have some great things coming up including a family orientated set of seminars for colleagues, developed as part of “rail pride” as well as a Pride liveried train which will be an exciting edition to our fleet!
How did you grow as a network?
We are still in the process of growing. The pronoun badge rollout really helped, and saw an increase in network members. We hope to go from strength to strength when our Pride train rolls out, as this was something suggested by our network members to promote D&I within the business.
How does the Stronger Together network contribute to improving Inclusion and creating positive change within the organisation?
The network looks at how different issues affect different groups of staff members in different areas of the business. We have a network lead dedicated to looking at specific policies and procedures and how they can be improved from a networks point of view (such as more inclusive speech, LGBTQIA+ specific issues etc). I, myself, am in the fleet and engineering department, and one of the things that has been fed back to me by a member is that there is room for improvement for understanding LGBTQIA+ issues within the fleet engineering area. This is something I will be working on in the coming months.
The network is also looking to have “out and about” sessions in the coming months, where leads get out and about our network and set up at key locations to address issues, concerns or provide information. In my opinion it’s much nicer to sit down and have a brew and discuss issues than it is to send an email. These locations can include train crew depots, stations, and train depots.
For authentic and transparent DEI strategies to be successful in any organisation it is important to lead from the front. Can you share how you have engaged HR and Senior leadership?
Once every quarter, the company meets to have a diversity & inclusion board meeting with one of our heads of the company directors to feedback what we are doing and how the business can help with any challenges we face. All DEI networks within the company have been partnered with a member of our exec team. Ours is the Head of Stations, Matt. We have exciting things planned this year and next, so look forward to utilising Matt for any support we may need.
How does EMR plan to mark Pride month?
Alongside the pronoun badges, pronoun video and family information for LGBTQIA+ colleagues, we also have some really exciting things coming, including one of our trains being wrapped in a Pride livery, a first for our train company. We are also sponsoring Derby Pride and supporting Belper Pride. We are looking at running our Pride train on the routes to support those events, and the people travelling to them.