How to keep the country moving

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Katie Ferrier

Using her Law degree to shape a career in industry, Katie Ferrier is now playing her part in keeping Britain moving, overseeing all supplier engagement at Network Rail. She shares her secrets to success for budding law students.

Katie decided to study at Birmingham City University because of the opportunities on offer for real-life experiences. She enjoyed being able to get out there and represent people rather than focusing on purely the academic side of law.

What are your top tips for getting ahead in the rail industry?

Take responsibility for your own development. It's really important to learn that you should care about your development – it's you that it impacts the most and it's you that should take it forward.

Success is about being enthusiastic in everything that you do. Volunteer for things that you wouldn't normally volunteer for and put yourself outside of your comfort zone.

And finally, do something that you enjoy. You spend most of your life at work so it's really important that you enjoy what you're doing.

What advice would you give a 16 year old wanting a career in your industry?

The advice I’d give any 16 year old deciding on a career in the rail industry would be to get some experience - for example, volunteering to take part in engineering opportunities.

How can someone get the most from their course?

To get the most from your course, you need to get involved in all the day-to-day university life, including the lectures and taking part in the options that you have, but also taking part in the social activities that are available.

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Head of Supplier Engagement at Network Rail

LLB (Hons) Law

After leaving university, Katie landed her first job at BAE Systems when she was accepted on the commercial graduate scheme as a commercial and procurement officer.

She went on to work for consultancy firm EC Harris, where she was seconded into Network Rail working on the West Coast Mainline upgrade project. Network Rail recruited her as a direct employee in 2005, and she has recently taken up a new post as Head of Supplier Engagement.

"In my current role I'm heavily involved in contract negotiations and my law background gives me a head start in understanding what's going on without always having to refer to our legal team.

"Network Rail is an exciting place to be at the moment. We are reshaping the company, moving from a centralised to much more devolved structure and completely reworking the way we engage with our suppliers and customers."