Rail Profile: Gloria Taiwo-Adegbola

Meet Gloria, who has always had a love of all things STEM. Here she talks about her career progression, her interests at school and the people who have inspired her along the way.

What is your role?

I work as a Rail Technologist. The main crux of what I do is assess rail and understand the different things that can happen with rail. This could be rail breaks or it could be rail defects, we receive rail and we basically do forensics on the rail.

How did your career start?

I initially studied Aerospace Materials at the University of Sheffield, when I finished I went to work in the oil and gas industry materials testing. I then went back to uni to do a Master’s, then I decided to do an Engineering doctorate Phd in Rail, so that is where I moved into the rail industry.

I really focused on rail grinding, they call it a dark art for a reason as there are a lot of things that people do not understand about it; and I thought I would like to really go a bit further into rail and see what is out there. While I was doing my doctorate I met a few people who were sponsored by British Steel, so that is where I started to get to know about British Steel.  

Why work for British Steel?

British Steel provided me with some rail to use in my research, they also provided a machine in our lab; and I was able to get trained to use that machine. As a result working at British Steel has always been on my radar, so as I was finishing up my studies I thought where do I want to go, what sort of industry do I want to go into. I just thought rail technologies seemed like a really good thing, because it incorporates a lot of things that I have learnt and although I have got a lot of knowledge that is theoretical, it is really good to do some practical. 

What are the highlights for you in your role?

Highlights for me working at British Steel is seeing the blooms, it makes me happy to see where we start everything from as prior to starting at British Steel I hadn’t seen it in person before. I also go to the Research and Development labs; I enjoy that as I get to understand the machines we work on there.

Generally just going around, seeing different places and meeting different people is really good, I think every aspect of this role is a highlight.  

What were your top subjects at school?

At school I had a few people who encouraged me from the get go, my uncle was an engineer and although my mum was not an engineer she was a psychologist, she always encouraged me to do maths and do sciences.  

I love maths and studied it in 6th form, I ended-up studying maths, further maths, chemistry, physics and I did a bit of biology!  I just knew that I wanted to study engineering and those were the subjects that get me there, but I also knew that I liked planes and liked chemistry so something that would incorporate the two for me was aerospace materials, but as my career went along I started to discover other things that I liked as well.   

Things like trains, they are really cool, I wanted to know how they worked!