When I started a two-week placement at TfL in Victoria, I knew at best what most people know about Transport for London. TfL runs the tube and bus services in our capital. TfL hires thousands of bus drivers, London Underground staff and a network of engineers and other employees. What more was there to it? Weren’t they now part of our new Mayor’s empire at Greater London Authority?
My schedule is colour-coded and expertly put together with meetings, events and activities planned over two very busy weeks. I’ll find out about TravelWatch, youth engagement, and TfL’s commitment to accessibility. I help out on a stand encouraging employers to host a disabled person in the workplace. I update the BAME media list and receive detailed briefings on Employee Communications, Government Relations, Business Engagement, Press/Social Media, and marketing integrated campaigns.
At the end of it all, my head is spinning. It’s been great to get a sense of the many career opportunities Transport for London has to offer. However, there is a distinct feeling of disconnect between the public perception of TfL and what the organisation does. Perhaps TfL could benefit from new measures to improve communication with its various audiences. People need to know more about the valuable work it does to put customers at the heart of its services.
I’ve been impressed initiatives to improve accessibility for a range of TfL users such as carers, the disabled, LGBT communities, women, and others. I also commend TfL for its efforts to normalise and integrate people living with HIV into its workforce in partnership with Terrence Higgins Trust.
As TfL moves to streamline its processes, it appears to be a conscientious, modern, forward thinking employer. There are various career opportunities in operational sectors and service delivery. They offer work placements each year to graduates, young people, disabled job seekers, and others.
Transport for London is one of the most ethnically diverse workforces in the world’s most diverse city, London. It is also doing its utmost to push equality issues that ensure equal life chances for all. It would be fantastic, however, to see much more of that diversity seeping all the way to the top.