If you are currently working in a blue collar rail jobs but would like to transition into a white collar role, there are certainly opportunities to do so, but there are some things you should know that will help maximise your chances.

White collar versus blue collar rail jobs; what’s the difference?

First, some definitions; usually, blue collar employees work in trade occupations, maybe paid on an hourly or shift basis, often with some manual labour involved. Conversely, white collar employees would usually have yearly salaried roles, sometimes with specific professional qualifications.  In rail, blue collar employees are often those who work in construction, maintain the track, sell tickets, man stations, or operate machinery such as cranes. White collar roles might include site supervisors, health and safety managers or surveyors. Blue collar employees often start straight from school, whereas white collar ones will usually have some further education or experience before they are employed.

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Moving between a blue collar and white collar role is often seen as a step up in your career, as white collar roles can attract a higher salary as well as more extensive ongoing job prospects. Of course, white collar roles come with different demands on employees, so those wanting to make the step need to make sure their skills and CV shape up.

Hone your CV to show essential qualifications and transferable skills for rail jobs.

Firstly, you need to make sure you have the basic qualifications required for the new roles. For example, a good understanding of the standard technologies used is important; these might be spreadsheets for budgeting purposes, or word documents for creating staff shift forms. White collar roles often mean that employers will look to develop employee skillsets through work-related courses or qualifications. Make sure you have the minimum requirements for enrolment on these - GCSE passes for Mathematics and English, for example.

Some experience within the blue collar role will be required for you to be able to justify why you would like (and deserve!) to move across; you will be working alongside people who have taken the traditional route into the career so your hands-on experience and potential needs to be a match for their qualifications. Don't underestimate the value of practical experience and don't undersell yourself.

You probably already have some relevant experience and skills that can be transferred to a new role; your CV needs to emphasise points such as supervisory experience, issues where you have had to think logically to solve a problem, or success under pressure.

For example, a blue collar track maintenance employee looking to move into management would do well to emphasise tasks where they have needed to direct others, and where working as a team has achieved the necessary goals. Always tailor the CV to the specific role and employer.

White collar roles are more likely to be advertised through agencies, so make sure you are looking in the right places for potential opportunities to make that step between blue and white collar worlds.

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