The type of skills this project gives you are irreplaceable. Before being part of the team, I was never the most confident or outspoken person. However, being surrounded by the most supportive people has helped me step out of my comfort zone, actively taking steps to contribute towards a cause greater than myself.
So, if you are curious then please don’t be shy: we’d love for you to join. Let me explain more.
During my one year of Making Rail Work, I have been part of a range of activities and projects as part of this project. As a team, we hold regular meetings to keep everyone updated on what everyone is doing and our progress towards gradually establishing Making Rail Work. In these meetings, we also share our opinions on approaching the next step in our engagement strategies. Despite the high expertise and experience everyone in the team has, I really appreciate how I always felt like my voice was heard in these meetings, regardless of my own age and experience.
In the background, I have worked with Katrina to manage the stakeholder database through data entry on Excel. Working on the rangatahi strategy, I wanted to ensure I correctly represented rangatahi to all of our stakeholders. Henceforth, I reached out to rangatahi I met at civic events and asked their opinions regarding rail and our future. Despite these perhaps being deemed “smaller” tasks, their voices set the foundation for a more vital vision of Making Rail Work’s purpose.
Being part of Making Rail Work opens doors to opportunities I never knew someone my age could experience. Upon learning more from Rangatahi’s views on New Zealand rail and the current & future problems it can solve, I have spoken alongside Katrina, Susan and Michael in representing these views to Parliamentarians at a Cross-Party hui and at the Transport & Infrastructure Select Committee’s Inquiry into inter-regional passenger rail. Although the build-up was nerve-wracking, the feeling at the end of “Woah, I spoke to MPs!” was gratifying.
Given Making Rail Work’s cooperative approach, we seek people keen to join a collaborative movement and get a sense of ownership. The project’s growth has created loads more opportunities for rangatahi to get involved.
We are currently planning a series of rangatahi outreach meetings later in May. They will only take about 45mins, unless you want to stay on for further discussion. The hui will be all about answering your questions and discussing your ideas. You will also get to meet some of the core team: Katrina Ramage, Michael van Drogenbroek, Benjamin Love, Scott Faville, and me!
Although school can get very hectic, regardless of whether you are in high school or university, there are varying levels of engagement you can take on depending on how much you can commit. As someone who took part in this project in my final year of high school and is now in my first year at university, I could maintain a work-life balance while actively participating in Making Rail Work’s excellent opportunities.