Josh Ward

  • Current role: Project Leader (Change)
  • Year of graduation: 2016
  • Degree course: Environmental Management

Josh WardBe comfortable with who you are. You will meet loads of people at university and you don’t have to get along with everyone! By being yourself, you will find your own crowd and make some great friends.

We asked Josh...

What is your current role and how did you get to this point in your career?

After graduating from the University of Hertfordshire, I joined the I.T & Business Services graduate scheme at Network Rail. The scheme allowed me to rotate around different business units, building experience before rolling into my current position as a Project Leader (Change). My new role is people focused and involves early engagement, external attraction and employee capability.

How did your studies at the University of Hertfordshire help shape your career?

Studying at the University of Hertfordshire was a great choice for me because the degree I chose offered flexibility in module choices and full support for a year in industry. Utilising the option for a year of work experience has proven invaluable and helps to tackle the difficulty most students face - needing experience to get a job, but needing a job to get experience!

What made you decide to study at this University?

I picked the University of Hertfordshire for two key reasons. Firstly, there was ample choice between modules that allowed me to specialise in an area of my own interest. Secondly, it was clear that year in industry placements were not only supported but actively encouraged as part of wider learning and personal development during my studies at University.

What was the best or most useful thing about your course?

The best thing for me was the wider life experience. As a geographer fieldwork is an important aspect of your learning, and I enjoyed trips to Switzerland and the Lake District. The class of 2016 were entertaining company! I was also lucky enough to be awarded a small bursary to part-fund a study abroad opportunity in Brazil.

What is your stand out memory from your time at the University?

I’m going to cheat and choose two, and for very different reasons. First up was the view of the alps from Hohsaas, Switzerland where we broke through the cloud line at ~3,000m above sea level. The second was Sean Paul at the Forum, which was an entertaining evening!

Are you still in contact with friends you met at the University of Hertfordshire?

I was really lucky to meet some awesome people during my time studying at UH, both through my course and other campus activities. I still meet up with a few friends regularly.

What advice would you give your younger self if you were starting at the University tomorrow?

Be comfortable with who you are. You will meet loads of people at university and you don’t have to get along with everyone! By being yourself, you will find your own crowd and make some great friends. Also don’t worry about having everything sorted out, or knowing what you want to do when you finish university. You will face countless opportunities and that is half the fun.

Do you have any advice for University of Hertfordshire graduates who are considering a career in your industry?

The rail industry is an exciting place to be, and is far more innovative than it’s given credit for. We currently assist 4.5 million passenger journeys a day and this number is expected to double over the next 25 years. Creativity thrives under intelligent constraints and the challenge of meeting this demand has given rise to the Digital Railway programme. If you want to learn more, connect with me on LinkedIn!

What are your future career plans/ ambitions?

I’m never quite sure what the next step is until I’ve taken it, but I have become fascinated by all aspects of change and there are plenty of projects to get my teeth stuck into at Network Rail. Long term I would love to reach a ‘C level’ position in a company or even experiment with running my own venture.

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