ScotRail visit to Ayrshire College shows railway careers open to everyone

20/05/2024
Heather Waugh (left) and Sara Turkington (third from left) met with students and staff during their inspiring visit to the College

AS part of International Women’s Day, Ayrshire College’s Kilmarnock Campus welcomed special guests from the railway industry to highlight the career paths open to females.  

Sara Turkington, ScotRail’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, along with Heather Waugh, a former train driver with Scotrail and currently the only female freight train driver in Scotland, met with Early Years Level 6 students and lecturers to share their experiences.  

They highlighted the opportunities available to women and girls within the traditionally male-dominated rail industry and addressed misconceptions about careers that can start at an early age.   

ScotRail donated a supply of the Butterfly Books’ My Mummy is a Train Driver to be used as a resource in preparing Early Years Practitioners of the future to inspire young people with regards to their future careers.  

Charlotte Mitchell, Equality and Diversity Performance Lead, Ayrshire College, said: “Those working in Early Years can have a real and positive impact on the career choices young people make by ensuring their language is inclusive and the young people they work with have access to positive examples — inspiring role models and seeing themselves represented in the resources and learning materials available to them.”   

Student Jennifer Campbell said of the visit: “It was inspirational as she (Heather Waugh) was the only woman [freight train driver] and it highlights that woman can do anything.”   

Early Years Lecturer Lorna Dunlop added: “In 2024, there are still misconceptions that men and woman have ‘set’ jobs.  

“After listening to our guests — and understanding that gender is not a barrier in pursuing any profession — it has reminded our early years students that there is a pathway open to everyone to follow their dreams.” 

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