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Emma-Jayne joined Hitachi Rail and the rail industry in 2018. Find out more about how she stepped up and supported team members and her community through COVID - a true example of our Hitachi values in action.

Since joining Hitachi Rail, I have always aimed to be an active member of the business, promoting the Hitachi values of harmony and sincerity and demonstrating a pioneering spirit every day. To me supporting my colleagues is really important, so when COVID hit the world, it was important to me that I went the extra mile and made sure everyone felt supported in a time of uncertainty.

Supporting teams through COVID

When we entered the first COVID lockdown, I had just started a new project that had only been live for a few months. I wanted to go out of my way to reach out to team members, check in on them, and do whatever I could to not only help them integrate into the newly-formed project delivery team but also to help support my team members’ mental health, given the difficult circumstances. It was from here that I earned the nickname ‘Project Mother’!

As time passed and team members were working alone, I started to organise online social events to try and minimise the isolation some were feeling. Activities I organised ranged from virtual quizzes and and even virtual cook-alongs where team members made Welsh cakes in their lunch hour to celebrate a colleague’s birthday!

These events spanned country borders with the inclusion of team members from Hitachi’s factories in Italy.

After team members could return to work in a hybrid environment, I continued to support my colleagues. When one of the project team members was off sick for an extended period, I did my best to pick up some of their work. When they returned to work, I also did my best to support the important transition period while continuing to perform my day-to-day tasks.

Volunteering to help my community

At the same time as supporting my colleagues within Hitachi Rail, I signed up and completed training to become a community first responder for my local area with the ambulance service.

The volunteer role involved being trained to attend specific emergency calls to reach a potential life-threatening emergency in the first vital minutes before the ambulance crew arrived.

I truly believe in the importance of making the time to provide any support where possible and seeking alternative sources of assistance where you cannot provide it yourself. I believe small gestures, such as sending birthday messages to team members, really make a difference.

To hear that my colleagues felt supported by myself and other team members during the Covid-19 lockdown was amazing. It was a pleasure to spread positivity, lift spirits and raise team morale during such a difficult time.


Emma-Jayne Hutchings

Project Support Officer Location: UK