As part of our efforts to improve Passenger Experience, we want to attract the best talent into the transport industry. There are excellent opportunities and fun things to do. Transporting People is a series of interviews with people inside the industry to find out what they have to say about how they’ve developed their skills and experiences.
We asked Karen Camilleri a few questions about her work and her advice for young people.
Karen is Lead Consultant Commerce and Industry, Executive Interim at Penna.
“I’ve never met a more passionate and dedicated bunch of people in my life than those in transport!”
1) What you do in your work:
I am a recruiter with 17 years’ experience focusing on the placement of middle to senior Interim Managers into various sectors. In my current role, I concentrate on placing interims across the transport industry. I can place focused rail experts one day and broad sector experts the next.
2) What is your experience engaging with people in transport?
I’ve never met a more passionate and dedicated bunch of people in my life than those in transport. They are really passionate about what they do and realise the importance of the sector as a facilitator for economic growth in the UK. There are excellent prospects for people at all levels from graduates to director level enter this industry. Building relationships with new clients and hiring managers can be quite difficult as they have been approached many times and it can initially be difficult to create opportunities to differentiate our service. However transport people love to network & quickly realise the value we can bring.
3) Do you have an impact in creating opportunities for a diverse range of professionals?
Our network is really broad and my team and I invest significant time spotting and interviewing talent from a diverse range of industries in order to introduce fresh talent to the transport sector. Transferable skills are key. We regularly host events and attend others to identify high-calibre people from areas such as IT/Telecoms, Digital and Retail.
4) What skills are most important to the modern transport industry?
I feel the industry needs as many strategic thinkers as they can hire plus those who are willing to try new things and to challenge how things are currently being done. Transport needs more people who think about connectivity, the one passenger experience, and who put the passenger first and at the heart of every decision. These are really challenging yet exciting times.
5) What advice do you have for young people considering a career in transport?
There is a tremendous skills deficit across the industry from traditional roles such as engineering to operations to those with broader skills such as social media, project management and IT. Get involved in an apprenticeship or go to university and connect with an employer in infrastructure, operations or the industry supply chain and you will have a challenging and fulfilling career for life and an opportunity to travel the world!!
6) What’s your most memorable experience working in the transport industry?
To be honest I have loads. I love working with clients who are initial cynical about recruiters but then come back for more support time and time again. I received a call from a client on a Friday night at 7pm. I didn’t pick up the call I was probably doing bath time for my son but he just rang to wish me a great weekend and to tell me that I was the best recruiter he’d worked with.
I get to meet really interesting people who love what they do. My clients and my interims are often the same and interchange in their roles over time. I also love mentoring the more junior members of our team and watching them grow and develop into the future recruiters for the industry. I couldn’t choose a single ‘memorable experience’ as I just love the variety that being a transport recruiter affords.