The UK-based rolling stock company Angel Trains needed to expand its in-house software development capability to deliver a series of strategic enhancements to its asset management system.
We provided a choice from our crack team of high-calibre candidates with a range of different backgrounds. This helped Angel Trains to bring in the perfect person to meet their technical needs, all while enhancing the diversity of their IT team.
It took less than six weeks for the TechSwitcher’s first code to be used to help Angel Trains make tangible progress towards its strategic aims. In fact, she was so successful that Angel Trains will now be taking on a second TechSwitcher.
You’re silently gliding through the British countryside - fields, farms, and cows whizzing past you as you sit in comfort, getting ever closer to your destination.
If you’ve travelled on the UK’s rail network since it was privatised, then the chances are you’ve travelled on an Angel Train carriage.
The UK-based rolling stock company owns and maintains more than a quarter of all UK passenger trains - which adds up to well over 4,000 vehicles. It leases these vehicles to train operating companies including Avanti West Coast, ScotRail and CrossCountry.
With more than £5 billion invested in its trains since privatisation, Angel Trains carries out 1,000+ heavy maintenance overhauls and component changes every year.
Managing complex, high-value assets in a safety-critical environment requires sophisticated management software. Angel Trains has a bespoke asset management system, for which it was planning a multi-year transformation in the works.
Its aims are twofold:
1. To bring together data from previously siloed systems to improve operational efficiency.
2. To use that new, unified dataset as the basis for richer and more meaningful analytics, which will benefit train operating companies and the travelling public.
In order to do this, Angel Trains needed to expand its in-house development capabilities.
Liam Stirling, Head of IT at Angel Trains, explains:
“We had an immediate need to hire a junior developer to help us deliver an initial two-year programme of work. As a relatively small IT function, we couldn’t afford to be hand-holding someone for too long: we needed an individual who would get up to speed quickly, to help us deliver on our commitments.”
Angel Trains had advertised the role and interviewed a number of candidates, but hadn’t found the right fit. Stirling then engaged with TechSwitch: “We spoke to five people who would shortly be finishing the programme, and I was struck by the high calibre of all the individuals. The standard overall was much better than we’d seen in the wider market.
“While we knew there would be some initial hand-holding, each of the TechSwitch candidates brought additional skills and perspectives to the table: one had been a doctor, another a materials scientist, and a third had managed an international IT team. We would genuinely have been happy hiring any of them.”
“One of our objectives when hiring for this role was to ensure that we had a diverse range of candidates and it was great to see that delivered.”
Liam Stirling, Head of IT
Angel Trains took on a TechSwitcher who got up to speed in less than half the time expected to help accelerate the journey towards its strategic vision.
That same TechSwitcher has now been in the business for six months and has been so successful that they intend to take on a second TechSwitcher to expand their transformation programme.
Stirling reflects on the impact this has had:
“The person we recruited from TechSwitch has been absolutely excellent. When we were planning her onboarding, we’d allowed three months to get to a point where her code would be hitting our production systems. In reality, this was happening after just six weeks, which is a testament to her skills, as well as the TechSwitch training.
She’s now working very self-sufficiently on some strategically important projects to improve the way the business shares information with customers and suppliers. The business has been so impressed that we’ll shortly be taking on another TechSwitcher.”