UITP AWARDS: Metro Trains Melbourne sets blueprint for building diversity across the rail industry

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The UITP Awards celebrate the most innovative and ambitious sustainable mobility projects undertaken in the last two years in cities and regions around the world.

The 2019 UITP Awards were handed out during the Global Public Transport Summit in Stockholm. We sat down with each winning team to learn more about their project and to pick their brains about innovation in the sector.

Winner of the Award 'Diversity and Inclusion': METRO TRAINS MELBOURNE for the project "Metro Trains Melbourne - Diversity & Inclusion x 10"

Tell us briefly about your project.

Metro Trains Melbourne’s Diversity & Inclusion Program is built around gender diversity, socially responsible employment and inclusive culture. Gender diversity is supported through annualised and divisional gender Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), women’s professional development initiatives, as well as policy renewal and changes.

Socially responsible employment is being pursued through annualised targets. The GROW programme provides training and employment opportunities to those in marginalised or disadvantaged groups. The company has also developed a Leader Support Guide to socially responsible employment and launched 12 month traineeships for disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the community.

Metro is building a more inclusive culture through a raft of initiatives including diversity and inclusion engagement sessions for all staff, the Gender Equity Network breaking down barriers to employment, the Metro Pride Network celebrating diversity of sexual orientation and the METROpolitan Committee celebrating cultural diversity.

What are some of this project’s key successes?

Since Metro began operations in Melbourne Australia, the railway’s female workforce has grown from around 400 to over 1400. Total female participation in the workforce has climbed from 13.7% to 25.1%. In particular, there is a strong female presence in tunnel construction (33%), project operations (53%) and project communications (81%). The company has made a commitment to reach its gender target of 40% by the end of the current franchise.

Metro Trains Melbourne is also exceeding its socially responsible employment targets. Over 70 candidates have found full time work through different programs as the company pursues its enterprise-wide target of 5% of total recruitment by 2024.

Meanwhile, the rollout of diversity and engagement sessions has so far reached 1600 employees, which represents 30% of the total workforce at Metro Trains Melbourne. These face-to-face engagement sessions continue to be delivered across all divisions and to all layers of the business.

Since Metro began operations in Melbourne Australia, the railway’s female workforce has grown from around 400 to over 1400

In what way does this project bring about significant change in the public transport sector?

Metro’s Diversity & Inclusion Program provides a blueprint for building diversity across the rail industry. Railways around the world have long been perceived as male dominated industries where diversity is a hard fought battle. However, just like the greater city of Melbourne, the local railway is becoming a success story of integration, tolerance and business excellence through inclusion.

Metro has introduced official targets and multiple support initiatives that drive diversity and inclusion. The railway is being perceived as an inclusive and supportive place of employment, attracting a more diverse workforce with fresh ideas and perspectives.

How does it benefit public transport users?

Metro’s drive for a more diverse and inclusive workforce enables it to better reflect the outlooks and aspirations of the travelling public.

Diversity is feeding innovation, with the company winning multiple awards for innovation and technology over the last five years. Train punctuality climbed from 85.90% to 92.46% across the company’s first franchise 2009-2017. What’s more, customer satisfaction has climbed significantly, reaching a 22 year high in November 2018.

the local railway is becoming a success story of integration, tolerance and business excellence through inclusion

What lessons can other organisations learn from this project?

Metro’s Diversity & Inclusion Program incorporates a range of actions and layered targets, all fully endorsed by the Executive Team. This support at the highest level is critical, as it ensures widespread support for the actions and decisions that follow, including a changing workforce and revised company policies.

A second learning is persistence. You can change the attitudes and practices of both the organisation and the individuals within it, but you must use all available channels to drive this change.

A third learning are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Write change into the strategic plan and ensure employees aspire to achieve their local and organisational targets. Lastly, play it back. Make sure your communication tools celebrate every success in the diversity and inclusion space.   

Tell us about any new projects.

Metro’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is reaching beyond the walls of the organisation and into the wider community. Metro awarded the inaugural round of community grants to 50 organisations across Melbourne, with grants of $1500 provided to a variety of community organisations where Metro employees volunteer their time. In addition, two company-wide fundraising campaigns pledged support for Lifeline’s suicide prevention services and Melbourne City Mission’s work to assist homeless youth.


Stay tuned for more interviews with the remaining winners of the UITP Awards!

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