Professional Head of Signalling

  1. Transportation

Professional Head of Signalling

Location: UK wide

The Transportation UK division in Atkins, now part of the SNC Lavalin Group, brings together the capabilities of our Rail, Highway and Local Transport teams, into a single business of 3,000 talented engineers and professionals. The transportation infrastructure sector is experiencing unprecedented levels of investment and the SNC Lavalin’s Atkins business is playing lead roles in projects such as high-speed rail, digital rail, designing major new road & highways schemes and upgrading our existing transport networks to deliver future demand. Our consultants and supply chain are working with government, local authorities, contractors and sub-suppliers to develop integrated transport strategies to ensure the urban areas we live in continue to thrive.

The unique breadth of services in transportation, combined with our scale, makes us the leading UK transportation infrastructure consultancy, who can inspire our people and collaborate with our clients to ensure we continue to shape the future of transport.

Operating within the Strategic Rail Market, the Signalling and Communications Systems (S&CS) practice is seeking to appoint an industry recognised engineering leader as the Professional Head of Signalling to ensure the delivery of safe, sustainable, world class engineering outcomes across the rail signalling business.

Vision / Key objectives

The strategic goal of the S&CS practice is to transform SNC-Lavalin’s existing Signalling and Telecoms (S&T) business through:

  • Continued improvement to legacy signalling system project delivery.
  • Strengthening Signalling and Control Systems Technology Development and Deployment Capabilities.
  • Securing Future Signalling Interlocking and Control Technology Supply.
  • Developing Compelling and Compliant Digital Railway and ERTMS Solutions.
  • Creating Technology Whole Lifecycle Management Services.

Reporting to the Future Signalling Systems (FSS) Technical Director and working directly with the Signalling and Communication Systems (S&CS) practice leads, the Professional Head of Signalling will be an instrumental part of this crucial business transformation and technology management initiative, providing technical leadership to staff within the Signalling discipline and technical assurance across the portfolio of signalling activities.


Overseeing the activities of an appointed group of Technical Authorities, the Professional Head of Signalling will be responsible for ensuring technical and delivery excellence across all areas of the S&CS portfolio of works including Development, Design, Construction, Installation, Test and In-Service Support. The overarching objectives of the role will be to:

  • Ensure engineering consistency and implementation of best practice engineering techniques across the S&CS practice to maintain the Engineering Safety Management culture and drive competitive/commercial advantage.
  • Raise the profile of Atkins’s Signalling and Communications technical capabilities across the signalling industry. Maintain presentations and capability sheets of the Division’s technical capabilities and support other value adding market led initiatives.
  • Ensure all relevant internal, industry and client standards are understood, briefed and - where required - implemented across the S&CS portfolio of works.
  • Work with the Technology Director, to scope, assess and prioritise future technology development initiatives.
  • Ensure appropriate technical assurance (including technical audit) and engineering safety management regimes are implemented across the S&CS portfolio of works.
  • Ensure all projects within the signalling portfolio have a technical reviewer appointed and maintain a register of competent technical reviewers, working with Project Directors to identify an appropriate reviewer based on the risk profile of the project.
  • Act as technical reviewer and/or technical director for selected projects
  • Support bids and contribute to technical submission as required. Ensuring innovation, automation and technical assurance activities are included in bid submission
  • Ensure an appropriate competency management system is maintained within the S&CS practice.
  • Maintain an accurate set of Engineering Key Performance Indicators to support performance improvements and engineering risk reduction.
  • Conduct and report technical reviews and technical investigations under the guidance of the FSS technical director.
  • Ensure technical lessons are learned and communicated (not reinvented) through production of guidance notes, experience sheets, papers etc.
  • Facilitate the development of technical staff, providing mentorship to the S&CS team where appropriate. Be a focal point for technical guidance.
  • Encourage innovation and cross-business cooperation to ensure development and project delivery initiatives are coordinated and aligned.
  • Work with the FSS Technology Director, to assure engineering activities across the wider supply chain for whole lifecycle project delivery.
  • Contribute to establishing a market leading railway signalling and control systems whole lifecycle asset management capability within FSS.
  • Support the FSS Technology Director in running the FSS Technology Steering Group.
  • Liaise with clients and other key industry stakeholders as required by the FSS Business Director, S&T Client Director and Digital Rail Client Director.

Role requirements

Professional Head of Signalling candidates shall be recognised an industry expert in the field of Railway Signalling Engineering. They will exhibit strong leadership qualities with an engineering pedigree supporting the successful delivery or technology deployment of railway signalling/control systems projects from concept and throughout service operation. Strong communicators and collaborators, candidates shall also have:

  • Proven team & technical leadership and line management experience
  • A Batchelor’s degree (or equivalent experience) in engineering or technology related field with chartered status preferred.
  • Experience of railway signalling and control systems product development within an OEM context is preferred.
  • Familiarity with developing technologies in accordance with the BS EN 5012X family or international standards and industry accepted engineering and systems safety standards and processes such as TSI, CSM and ROGS
  • Familiarity with signalling system and safety engineering methods and best practice
  • Clear understanding and experience of mitigating the risks involved in signalling design and build projects on the UK mainline rail environment
  • Familiarity with Network Rail’s GRIP processes for delivering projects
  • Familiarity with latest railway signalling and control systems developments, issues and challenges around the world
  • Strong relationships with key industry client and stakeholder organisations such as Network Rail, Department for Transport, RSSB, etc
  • Committed to organisational learning, change and continuous improvement
  • UK Signalling Principles knowledge

Key Measures

The key measure of the Professional Head of Signalling role will be reflected in the operational performance of an effective, value adding, signalling engineering team supported by a professional head structure delivering:

  • Improved quality cost and delivery performance.
  • Reliable engineering performance metrics.
  • Reduced non-conformances.
  • Robust standards briefings
  • Robust competence management and resource development.
  • Improved engineering governance.
  • Continuous improvements for resource and process development across the portfolio.

This role may require security clearance and offers of employment will be dependent on obtaining the relevant level of clearance. If this is necessary, it will be discussed with you at interview.

If applying to this role please do not make reference to (in conversation) or include in your application or CV, details of any current or previously held security clearance.

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