Network Rail – Westwood Training Centre
Studying the JSD website had convinced Network Rail that our in-house designers could create the prestige uniform range required to emulate the impressive interior schemes planned for the refurbishment. It was vital to reflect that quality in the bespoke uniforms worn by staff running the Westwood centre.
Network Rail opened its £10million Westwood training centre at Coventry in 2005, specifically to deliver professional skills development to Network Rail managers, in partnership with Warwick Business School. Westwood welcomes over 2,000 managers and supervisors through its doors each year and aims to give them all a memorable experience. By 2013, however, the purpose-built, residential building – complete with leisure facilities and offices – was ready for a 5 star revamp.
Studying the JSD website had convinced Network Rail that our in-house designers could create the prestige corporate uniform range required to emulate the impressive interior schemes (top quality throughout) planned for the refurbishment. It was vital to reflect that quality in the bespoke uniforms worn by staff running the Westwood centre.
During an initial visit to the Westwood site, Ann Dowdeswell, Director of Sales at JSD, and our in-house designer, Rebecca Rhoades, had a full tour of the facility, meeting staff at all levels. They also studied the design boards and colour palettes approved for the redesign. Once JSD had received Network Rail approved supplier status, the contract was confirmed and we could work closely with the team at Westwood. Focus group meetings were held with key staff, to establish where the priorities for corporate clothing lay.
“This was a simple start-up, requiring a 100% change in uniform design,” explains Rebecca Rhoades. “The client’s brief was for a co-ordinated 5 star look, reflected across the bespoke suiting range for men and women. Because Network Rail have managers from all the UK train operating companies attending conferences at Westwood, it was essential for us to create a uniform design that sends out a clear, high end brand message: ‘Professionally, our people are quality’!”
The contract is a mix of design, supply and stock for the men’s and women’s suiting across all departments, front and back of house; plus buy-in-and-brand on the food and beverage uniforms and for staff in the break-out areas, according to Ann Dowdeswell.
The bespoke suiting range – jackets, waistcoats, trousers and pencil skirts – is in a French navy wool/poly/lycra, a fabric specified for its proven quality and durability. From the Network Rail colour palette, the JSD designer selected the is acid yellow to offset against the dark blue, as a slim contrast details on the pockets, buttonholes and for the stab-stitch detail on the lapels.
The fine cotton-polyester for the bespoke shirting is in white with a French navy pin dot for ladies, and a fine navy stripe for men: Rebecca Rhoades switched the two fabrics as a contrast for the men’s and women’s shirt designs, providing continuity across the range.
The aprons for the food and beverage teams were bought in and JSD was asked to brand them for Network Rail. The client requested an easy bistro look and Rebecca Rhoades responded by designing an ‘Eat and Drink’ logo in lime green on French blue aprons.
“Network Rail shut down the entire Westwood site for the refurbishment phase,” explains Ann Dowdeswell. “There was no opportunity to conduct a wearer trial because staff were seconded out and only brought back in when work was complete – they had to start wearing the new uniforms immediately. However, Network Rail was confident that our designs would hit the mark, and the response from their people subsequently confirms that they have.”
JSD managed production offshore and then delivered the entire uniform stock to Westwood. Roll out took place through late May and June 2014. The centre operates as a five star hotel and so its onsite housekeeping team holds stock and distributes it, according to demand. “On an ongoing basis, our account management team works with one point of contact: we forecast and from that forecast go to manufacture and top-ups,” confirms Ann Dowdeswell. This looks like being just the beginning of an expanding working relationship across the Network Rail group.