Talent & Development

We invested in a number of training programmes to help us to continue to develop our workforce by recognising the skills and abilities required at different stages of the programme.

Line Management Capability Programme

Bespoke training delivered and created in house

One of the key HR commitments made within the Thameslink Programme People Strategy, was to upskill and develop our people managers. To help fulfil this commitment a line management capability strategy was formed, focusing on the key components and skills needed to be an effective people manager. Ten key themes, aligned to the business needs and corporate initiatives, were created using drop-in sessions, workshops, subject-matter expert sessions, e-learning courses and case studies.

The target audiences were:

  • Ninety-seven line managers
  • New line managers and, where appropriate, programme-wide cascades
  • Continuous improvement supported via feedback and lesson learned sessions.

The strategy was in place to upskill all people managers within Thameslink Programme and designed to benefit and develop both new and established people managers. The target audience was Thameslink Programme employees with people management responsibilities. To ensure a good uptake amongst employees and the programme’s success, sponsorship from the Executive Team was paramount.

Within each development theme there were capabilities that formed the core focus of the learning and training delivered. These target capabilities were specifically chosen, with the aim of enhancing line manager expertise and proficiency when managing people.

Delivery of the line manager capability strategy

To facilitate and deliver the strategy, a variety of resources were utilised.

They included:

  • The use of Skillsport, an online training resource with specifically customised training for these areas
  • Guest speakers, including subject matter experts, who were able to provide high quality training and guidance
  • In house workshops offering classroom-based training sessions
  • Awareness sessions and quick user guides so that managers were able to refer back to the skills and knowledge they have learnt.

In this interview, Dan Murphy, Senior Agent for Costain talks about his own career progression during the London Bridge station project.


Continuing with the theme of Line Manager upskilling the MCP programme came to completion in February 2018 with I-Lead training being rolled out. The I-Lead training was delivered by an external training provider that focussed on management approaches and tools to support individual development and for managers of teams. It was based on stimulating discussion, experiential activities, coaching and adaptive ways to learn so that an interactive, powerful learning experience was gained.

The training also included:

  • How managers interact with their teams to build engagement and inclusiveness
  • How managers have crucial conversations with mutual meaning
  • How managers achieve results through others with feedback and coaching
  • How managers cultivate relationships and drive performance through effective use of performance management tools.

It was rolled out in two phases:

  • I-Lead 1 – New and upcoming line managers and any other employees on the programme selected who were deemed to have potential
  • I-Lead 2 – Experienced managers looking to refresh their knowledge and share experiences.

Initially the training was rolled out to a pilot group of 15 people who helped endorse the programme before it was implemented more widely among colleagues.

“The iLead course focused on the behaviours that support effective working with others. It covered a range of practical methods including coaching, feedback, and communication and performance management. The trainer practiced what was preached by genuinely engaging with the group and working through topics collaboratively and collectively, instead of lecturing. This meant we covered issues relevant to people’s daily lives and had many chances throughout to utilise and feel the benefit of a variety of practical methods directly. I was sceptical when I started the course but found it practical and beneficial.”

A “grow our own” approach to talent

Through our People Strategy, the Thameslink Programme committed to ensuring it had the right the talent and at the right time with a “grow our own” approach.

Talent mapping

A programme of talent management and identification was implemented, to help guide the Executive and their teams when deciding how to develop people who had potential for the future. It formed the basis of development plan conversations to discuss motivations, aspirations and opportunities for development.

This process was undertaken through a nine-box grid mapping tool which charted individuals’ skills and capabilities, assessing them in terms of performance and potential.

In this interview, Daragh Brady, Construction Manager talks about his own personal development during the London Bridge station project.

Succession planning / Business critical roles

Whilst ensuring we defined and measured our internal capabilities on short, medium and long-term needs, it was also essential to minimise the risk of immediate skills loss on the programme. Therefore, a business-critical list was developed and maintained by the Executive. This ensured succession plans were in place for all roles and individuals who were critical to deliver project milestones and contributed most to organisational success.


Network Rail’s one vision, one way introduced a profession for everyone working in Infrastructure Projects, to give people the tools and pathway to excel in their chosen field.

Senior leaders

To develop existing talent and enhance leadership behaviours consistent with foundation management skills and leadership behaviours required by Network Rail, additional training opportunities were provided. The Senior Leaders Programme was targeted towards senior managers dependent on their role. It consisted of five residential modules and a coaching workshop, plus a one-day graduation event, spread over nine months.

Participants who successfully completed the programme were eligible to receive the University of Warwick Post Graduate Award in Strategic Leadership.

The training included:

  • Becoming a high-performance leader
  • Building a high-performance organisation
  • Maximising business capabilities
  • Driving organisation success.

In this interview,


Talent & Development Key Themes

Ten key themes were aligned to the business needs and corporate initiatives. Within each development theme there were capabilities that formed the core focus of the learning and training delivered.

103 KB