Bus and rail group joins ‘An Inspirational Journey’, an initiative to help increase the number of women at senior levels of UK business and industry

European passenger transport group Arriva is the latest partner to join ‘An Inspirational Journey’, which works to increase the number of women working at the senior corporate level in UK business and industry. Arriva, which operates bus and train services in 12 countries, has signed up 28 women from the group who have been identified as having potential to be future business leaders to An Inspirational Journey’s ‘Pearls’ programme.

The Pearls programme is an initiative that already reaches out to more than 4,000 women from a multitude of sectors and regions across the UK, who have been identified as future business leaders. The programme focuses on building confidence, recognising capabilities and developing contacts, while providing control and choice.

Public transport in the UK has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, but Arriva believes that attracting, retaining and developing a more balanced and diverse cross-section of employees provides a richer pool of talent from which future leaders can be drawn.

“At Arriva, the solution to more balanced gender representation in leadership roles is not about setting quotas and targets but encouraging and offering the right opportunities to grow and develop employees,” said Alison O’Connor, Arriva’s group HR director.

“We believe that The Pearls initiative fits well with our approach to equipping current and future high potential leaders with the tools, skills and experience for progression to more senior roles. The tailored Pearls initiative will complement our own development programmes, widening peer-networks to other women who may have shared experience, aspirations and challenges.”

Heather Jackson, founder of The Pearls and An Inspirational Journey, said: “By identifying and highlighting these women as future business leaders, Arriva is helping to lead the way in its sector, ensuring they have the skills, qualities and support they need.

The Pearls is already working with companies across all sectors in the UK. These include Royal Bank of Scotland, Ernst & Young, BT, National Australia Group, Grant Thornton, Asda, DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons, Eversheds, Morrisons, Northumbrian Water, Yorkshire Water, Walker Morris, Angel Trains, Coutts and Atkins.

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