So far in this Careers Week, we have only focused on railway careers. But there are many other career paths you could take where you can still use your railway knowledge and passion but for something a bit different. In this article, we are going to focus on other types of careers outside of the railway industry which may interest you.
Jobs With Your Local Council
It is possible to work on railway projects without being in the railway industry yourself. Local councils are always looking to improve railway connections and services and you might like to start a career in one of their transport planning departments – you should talk to your local council if you’re interested in this avenue of work.
If you have an interest in history as well as the railways, have you thought about combining the two together? David Turner is a railway historian who also blogs about railway history. One way to get into history would be to take a degree at university, and David has some words to share about this:
A History Degree is not overly useful as a path to a specific career, nor does it have a wide range of options at the end. Nevertheless, I don’t think that that should stop someone following a passion of theirs. The only way we know about what happened in the past is if people study it. After all, politicians, businesses and decision-makers could stand to learn a lot from history, and personally I wished they would take more notice of it.
David started with an undergraduate degree in simply history. Unfortunately, it is not possible to study an undergraduate degree in railway history, you would have to wait to until your masters degree. You can do MAs in railway studies and transport studies at the Institute of Railway Studies and Transport History, which is run by the University of York and National Railway Museum. You should note though that a Masters Degree, unlike an undergraduate, would have to be self-funded, yet various bodies do provide grants.
If you are interested in studying railway history, we recommend you talk to The National Railway Museum, as they’re the best people to point you in a direction of where to begin.
Photography and Videography
Many highly skilled YREA members take photos and videos of their hobby, but have you ever thought about using this talent for a career? Photography and videography extend beyond the world of railways, or you can choose to keep your work within the rail scene.
You could choose to remain freelance and take photographs and videos of whatever you like, selling them on your own site or hiring yourself out for work. Alternatively, you could look to work for a company which specialises in these areas and learn new skills from them. If its photography you’re interested in then perhaps a college or university course in photography is what you need to prepare for a career, or if you’re a video person you might like to look into film or media studies. Why not talk to your local college about what courses they have available?
Many services around the UK have on-board catering facilities, and some (such as those operated by First Great Western) have talented chefs on board. If you like cooking and are looking to do this in a challenging environment, why not consider a career in railway catering solutions? You could also consider the many catering options available at stations through companies such as SSP.
Engineering is a very broad area, and it may be one you find interesting. With specialist college and university courses available, and with apprenticeships both inside and outside of the railway industry starting every year, it might be the perfect career option for you. You could build the trains of the future, or work in railway infrastructure projects. You could also work with train operating companies to maintain their locomotives, units and rolling stock.
Sales and Retail
If you love interacting with people, selling things and marketing then a job in retail might be for you. Railway stations in the UK have a whole wealth of retail opportunities within them including clothing stores, fast food, book shops, gift shops and much more. If you’re really ambitious, you could even think about opening your own store in this environment.
The YREA would like to thank railway historian David Turner for his comments. David writes for the Turnip Rail blog.