We catch up with an experienced trainer, Daniela Halacheva to find out how her career in rail, and more recently rail training, has developed, from joining Morson to the positive changes she’s seen over her 17-year career.
Tell us about your journey from rail worker to rail trainer…
“I joined the railway in 2005 initially working as a Protection Master and then as a Site Person in Charge from 2006.
From 2008 I was the Night Supervisor for Vital Human Resources, managing the night protection staff and other resources before our acquisition into the Morson Group in 2013. I stayed on in this capacity until I became a trainer in 2018.”
What first got you interested in the rail industry?
“It seemed like an interesting industry to work in. When I started, I didn’t know anything about the railway, besides using it for my daily commute. I had to learn all the different components and terminology, and of course lots of acronyms. The more I learned the more I wanted to know. I found it fascinating, and I still do!
I also admire the effort by so many people working in the industry, from planning, and logistics, to maintenance. All to ensure that we can carry out our work within the tight timeframes we have and be able to run a service for passengers.”
Why did you make the transition into rail training? How did you find out about the opportunities available at Morson Training?
“As part of my Night Supervisor role at Morson, I worked closely with the training team; mentoring the next generation of protection staff, and helping them prepare for their formal training. This involved things like showing them protection publications or taking them out for site visits to demonstrate their complexities.
I wanted to become a trainer to be able to teach people the rules that keep us safe in the industry and pass on my knowledge.
As a trainer, you need to have the right attitude towards the industry and teach the delegates the correct ways of keeping safe. You need to help them see how important it is to observe the rules put in place, as they are there to keep us safe.
The London Morson Training centre opened in 2016 and one of the trainers noticed my passion and asked if I had considered a career as a trainer. This sounded like a great opportunity, and it became a reality in 2017 when my manager Sunil Madhavan joined the team. That’s when I was given the opportunity to start my journey to become a fully qualified trainer.”
Tell us more about your job as a trainer. What does a typical day look like?
“It all starts with a good cup of coffee before I prepare the room to welcome the delegates. Depending on the course being delivered, I will check all the delegates have the necessary paperwork and explain the structure of the course and what the day entails. Upon completion of the training, I will send over the notification to the respective companies. A lot of times delegates assume our day finishes when they leave for the day.
The most satisfaction I get is when delegates pass the course and achieve the standard. That means that I have done my job well and they now know how to keep themselves and others safe working in the industry.”
What have been your favourite aspects of your role as a trainer – any standout experiences/moments?
“As a trainer, the most enjoyable aspect for me is when I see that delegates have understood the material in the course. People come in from different backgrounds or even straight from school and it makes me so proud to see that they enjoyed the course I delivered and now understand the rules to keep safe in the industry.”
What advice would you give to someone considering training or a career in rail?
“The rail industry is a great place to work, if you like it, you will always find your place, as it is so diverse and provides a lot of great opportunities to progress and succeed.
My advice for someone becoming a trainer – you have to be passionate about it! Training people is very important and exciting. How we train people affects the way they behave on site. If we train them correctly, we drive safety to the forefront of people’s minds and, in turn this will help minimise the number of incidents.”
What is it like working as part of Morson Training – what is the team/culture like?
“Working for Morson Training is excellent. Everyone is very professional and really committed to delivering high standards of training. The team in London are all very knowledgeable and we can all share our experiences. I have learned a lot from my manager, Sunil. We are always helping each other and it is great to have such a strong and positive team around you. The support you get from the whole training department is outstanding.”
How has the rail industry changed over the past 17 years?
“I have been in this industry for 17 years and I have seen it change for the better.
Safety is improved in terms of the new procedures and equipment being introduced to reduce risks and hazards. There are a lot more women working in the industry compared to when I first started, which is a massive improvement.”
Regional Training Director Sunil Madhavan at Morson Training, Transport for London (TfL) added:
“From first meeting Daniela and being part of her trainer journey; I have been fortunate to see Daniela’s enthusiasm and passion to help others, be it a delegate or fellow trainer. Daniela is the embodiment of a good trainer who enjoys passing on their wealth of knowledge and experience to the next generation who join the industry.”