"Respect and Integrity are two of my own two core values."
The inspirational Nita Rabadia works as a Specification & Technical Assurance Director at High-Speed 2 (HS2).
Working within the Infrastructure Directorate, her responsibility entails taking care of “requirements, management and technical processes.”
Being a mechanical engineer, Nita made the decision to join HS2. This is because she always had the desire to be part of a great infrastructure project.
Since 2012, Nita has progressed through the ranks to become Director of Specification and Technical Assurance.
Working to tight schedules and deadlines, Nita thrives on such a big challenge.
According to Nita, HS2 also provides a unique opportunity to “test news standards” and constantly look for “innovative ideas.”
Furthermore, Nita is promoting diversity, by encouraging more women from the Asian community to follow a similar pathway.
In an exclusive conversation with DESIblitz, Nita Rabadia reveals more about her career, working environment, role, challenges, diversity, along with guiding others to pursue an engineering position:
What made you choose a career with HS2?
I chose to join HS2 as it was a great opportunity to be part of the largest infrastructure project in Europe.
As a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, it provided me with a platform to help influence and promote engineering. It also helped to shape the diversity and leadership culture within the rail industry.
It’s a real privilege and honour to be part of a programme of this scale and magnitude that will leave a strong legacy for the UK as a whole.
It’s also nice to share and talk about something different with my friends and family, which has a sense of pride and personal achievement.
I have had a chance to work alongside some really talented and experienced individuals who are the best in their field, over the 7 years being on the project.
What is it like working at HS2?
I’m really excited to be here. I enjoy the challenge it offers. The task itself is huge. It’s never been done to this scale, both in terms of size and complexity. No one day is the same.
I have a great team and support network. We actively encourage people to share experiences and lessons learnt to ensure we deliver an optimised solution. We also help each other out.
Personally for me, working as a team is really important and living by the HS2 values and behaviours.
“Respect and Integrity are two of my own two core values. So its good to be working with an organisation where that is encouraged.”
What does a Specification & Technical Assurance Director do?
My role includes working closely with our Sponsor -Department for Transport (DfT).
This is to ensure the requirements that they have specified to us, are translated into technical specifications/works scope and are correctly instructed to our supply chain/contractors.
Part of this includes making sure our core technical processes/ documentation and decisions are recorded and evidenced sufficiently well to withstand any internal and external scrutiny.
What kind of challenges do you face in your role?
Some of the challenges I currently face are recruiting for specialist skillsets.
Due to the complex nature of the HS2 programme, we need individuals who are natural ” system thinkers” and can “connect the dots” easily rather than work in their individual silos.
They must be able to grasp the bigger context. Understanding how they fit into that and who they need to interact with to ensure the optimised solution is achieved is essential.
I look out for those softer skills too. This is because we need individuals who can work well in a dynamic environment as the programme is always evolving.
What kind of degree and skills are needed for your role?
Working within the HS2 Core technical engineering function, an engineering-based degree would be a must.
The role requires having a good technical understanding, as well as good strong management and leadership capability.
On a day to day basis, there is a need to engage with a diverse range of technical subject matter experts across the organisation.
“It is also vital to deal with external stakeholders.”
Key essentials skills include the ability to problem-solving, team working and influencing decision making.
What could HS2 do to increase diversity even more?
HS2 is already paving the way for diversity which is really pleasing to see.
Being a woman and coming from an Asian background it would be really nice to see HS2, taking a more hands-on approach.
Promoting BAME groups and encouraging the younger generations to pursue this type of career is important.
What does the EDI Steering group do in HS2?
HS2 EDI steering group which is chaired by our CEO to ensure Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is promoted within the organisation and our supply chain.
It also helps to provide an oversight role to monitor and review the workstreams that contribute to the EDI objective.
It is also about discussing any areas that may need further support and guidance. Hence, it’s a great opportunity for me to be a part of it.
It allows me to bring my own personal insight, experience to the table and help shape the workplace culture for the future.
What would you say to others looking for a similar career?
I would encourage those who are wishing to take up roles in engineering to defiantly pursue it.
There’s a real skills gap and we need to help diversify the industry sector as a whole.
It really is an interesting career choice. I would encourage others who are thinking of this to give it a go.
“There’s nothing to lose and you’ll meet some great talented people along the way.”
Additionally in her role as a mentor, Nita is passionate about promoting diversity and encourages more women to get involved.
Hence, she believes it is important to think and challenge, along with communicating to draw on different perspectives.
Furthermore, the leadership and impactful qualities of Nita Rabadia are a testimony to the working ethos at HS2.
With so many opportunities to develop at HS2, please check their careers page to be part of this exciting venture.