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  • Writer's pictureBarry Michael Aldridge

The Railway Industry Association (RIA) Publishes its Second EDI Charter Annual Report.

On this day Thursday 12th October 2023, the Railway Industry Association (RIA) has published its second EDI Charter annual report.

Women in Rail and Railway Industry Association EDI Charter Logo

The EDI Charter In 2020, the Railway Industry Association (RIA) and Women in Rail (WR) launched a Charter to champion Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the UK railway industry. The joint ‘Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter’ is a commitment to work together to build a more balanced, fair and high performing sector. This is a voluntary initiative, open to all companies, clients and organisations working in the UK rail sector who wish to play a role in promoting positive change in our industry. It seeks to recognise and build upon the progress which has already taken place, providing the basis to encourage further collaboration and action across the sector.

The Charter involves several key commitments, including to:

  • Appoint a member of the senior leadership team as an ‘EDI Champion’;

  • Agree an action plan, monitor and report on progress made;

  • Provide opportunities for training and education of employees, support the progression of diverse individuals into senior roles to improve diverse representation at senior and executive level of the UK railway industry;

  • Create a culture that fosters inclusion and provide a safe space for all employees to talk openly, including at industry events and in meetings; and

  • Make recruitment and progression processes accessible and attractive to all to attract retain and develop people of all backgrounds, ages, genders and identities.

Source: RIA website.


Flotec is proud and delighted to have played a part in this project and can be found on page 26 of the hefty 52 page document with a full page feature titled; ‘Championing EDI in a rail SME’.

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THE FLOTEC ARTICLE

Page 26 - Railway Industry Association EDI Charter 2023 Annual Report


Championing EDI in a rail SME Barry Michael Aldridge is the Head of Marketing for SME Flotec Industrial Limited and in December 2022 was appointed the EDI Champion for his organisation.


Aldridge felt it important to support the Railway Industry Association (RIA) in its commitment to work together to build a more balanced, fair, and high performing sector.


Barry is a fully chartered marketer and fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and joined the rail sector in 2017,having gained substantial experience in various business to business (B2B)industries.


Loughborough-based Flotec is a trusted and leading supplier of reliable hose and engineering solutions to the rail market.


The company supports train operators in solving engine cooling issues to improve fleet efficiency and help towards a better passenger experience.


Having a vested interest in equality, diversity and inclusion, Barry speaks of the signatory:


“EDI is a subject matter that resonates incredibly close to my heart.


When first discovering the rail sector, I was immediately captivated by its creativity, diversity, kindness, and inclusion.


Our sector is wonderful and quite unlike any other I have ever worked in. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.


The EDI Charter venture from Women in Rail and RIA is testament to the railway family, our people and what we are striving to achieve.


The Flotec team is small, consisting of just twenty-five, but within ourselves are incredibly diverse, where inclusion is an organically natural way of being.


So, signing this Charter seemed the ethical and obvious thing to do.


It is my firm belief that EDI helps drive innovation which is important for the rail sector and those who work within It and rely on its services.”


Shortly after signing the EDI Charter, Barry was invited to speak at a monthly RIA signatory forum, where he shared his personal experience of being the victim of a hate crime and the effect it had had on him, family members and friends.


He highlighted a genuine need for equality, diversity, and inclusion. An honest and candid presentation, it revealed that for Barry, adopting and encouraging ethical behaviour is more than a corporate box ticking exercise but intrinsic towards making people, communities and societies feel safe, valued, included, and respected.


Barry has made progressive change within Flotec in numerous ways. He has penned visions, mission statements and core values with one of the values being:


Belonging, Empowerment, Ownership and Accountability:

  • To be a culture of diversity, inclusivity, creativity, innovation, teamwork, and family.

  • For each person to feel valued, appreciated and belonging to the Flotec culture, its shared mission, and values.

  • Each person to feel empowered and take ownership and accountability of their work.

  • To acknowledge, celebrate and reward successes and achievements.


Additionally, Barry has worked towards making the company a Disability Confident Employer.


More recently, Barry has completed an ED&I in Marketing Principles course through the Chartered Institute of Marketing, earning him an official EDI qualification!


When asked what his on-going plans are regarding equality, diversity and inclusion, Barry summarises:


“I am going to take my recent academic learnings and embed them within the overall Flotec strategy.


Moving forwards, I would like Flotec to be recognised as an SME ambassador for EDI and ethical business conduct within the rail sector supply chain.


Obviously, I enjoy the prospect of having more direct involvement with the wider rail sector, demonstrating the needs and advantages of adopting EDI strategies and behaviours.”


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Further thoughts on EDI ”it is great to be supporting the Railway Industry Association and signatory stakeholders with their EDI endeavours for the railway community.


However, it is important that EDI is understood to be much, much more than a rail only subject, topic and issue.


EDI is essential to businesses of all sizes, industries and larger sectors for the benefit of individuals, communities and societies in their entirety.


So, what exactly is EDI? My personal interpretation is that equality, diversity and, inclusion is all about giving people a level, balanced and fair opportunity to grow, develop and flourish whilst being treated with dignity and respect.


In the workplace, it has been proven that diverse and inclusive teams create higher performance, more engaged teams and employees, innovation, staff retention and greater organisational profitability.


I believe that toxic and antiquated work cultures that don’t either embrace or understand EDI open themselves up to greater risks such as; low employee morale, lack of productivity and profitability, stifled innovation, high staff-churn, absence and sickness. A greater likelihood of litigation and legal actions also come into play.


I think that the rail industry is a shining example of EDI best-practices and other industries could do well with learning from rail and adopting similar principles and initiatives.”


A portrait photograph of a man talking about how important EDI is.






Barry Michael Aldridge – Head of Marketing for Flotec


Click the below to read the full report in PDF format online.



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