Image credits: Network Rail

Network Rail has been announced as the winner of this year’s Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) Disability Confident Award, demonstrating its commitment to becoming a more diverse and inclusive employer for all.

The awards – with a judging panel comprising disability experts and senior industry leaders – are designed to celebrate the best of disability confident recruitment, with the results announced on International Day of Disabled People (3 December).

Network Rail was commended for its five-year diversity and inclusion strategy – Everyone Matters – and the Disability Matters workstream that is delivered as part of the strategy. Published in 2019, the strategy was planned and developed with the input of disabled colleagues and the disabled employee network CanDo.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Disability Matters project has provided fresh opportunities for employees to meet and ask questions around disabilities whilst working from home – for example through focus groups and interactive webinars. And Network Rail’s reasonable adjustments guidance for employees and their line managers was updated.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines, and chair Sir Peter Hendy CBE, have both pledged to increase the number of disabled employees, after figures showed that less than 3% of their 44,000-strong workforce have shared that they are disabled or long-term health condition.

Loraine Martins OBE, Network Rail’s director of diversity and inclusion, said: “I am delighted that we have won this Disability Confident Award. Becoming a more diverse and inclusive employer is vital for us, and this award signals that we are on the right track.

“I would like to thank all colleagues involved in making Network Rail a better place to work. We will continue to make progress through our Disability Matters initiative and through working with our CanDo employee network. This is great recognition, and we know that we still have much more to accomplish.”