I’m Jenny Dickinson and I am a Commercial Manager working on the West Midlands Trains National Rail Contract within Passenger Services.

I’ve been at DfT for over 5 years, starting out as an Assistant Contract Manager and over the years working on a number of high-value and complex rail contracts. The learning and development opportunities at the Department have really supported my progression. When I joined the Department, rail was a new challenge for me, and I was able to take full advantage of specialist teaching sessions provided by experts in the industry.  In addition to the formal learning and development opportunities, I’ve also been lucky enough to have colleagues willing to share their own knowledge and experience. From ad hoc one-to-one meetings to wider team sessions, the learning and development of everyone are really supported and encouraged.

Collaborative working relationships are also key when working with our train operators. Ensuring the interests of passengers and taxpayers are protected means we often have to explore innovative solutions to emerging issues. This means working with a number of technical experts as well as a variety of stakeholders. The diversity of experience and backgrounds at the Department means we can make a real difference to a variety of people through our work and seeing improvements for passengers become reality is extremely rewarding.

The opportunities to work flexibly are numerous. Following maternity leave, and with my line manager’s support, I was able to move to a flexible working arrangement. This enables me to maintain a good work-life balance. I am also part of the Department’s Families Network which has been really valuable and provided me with practical information in a number of areas.

I am based in the Department’s London office but often travel to Birmingham to meet up with team members and the train operating company. I really enjoy getting out on the network and seeing what passengers experience as it brings to life the variety of contractual requirements we manage. Through my role, I’ve been involved in some exciting, high-profile events such as the Commonwealth Games, volunteering at a station to see how years of planning ensured passengers were able to safely use the rail network to attend events.