Meet Thomas Hancock – from Protection Officer to digital solutions developer

When Thomas Hancock started with Sydney Trains four and a half years ago, he was working on the railways as a Protection Officer. Now he’s developing technology solutions for Train Crewing. We talk to him about his journey so far.

You’re currently in a Continuous Improvement Lead role, tell us about this and other roles you have held at Sydney Trains?

I develop business process solutions and improvements for crew, designed to make their routine tasks better. Since starting with Sydney Trains four and a half years ago, I’ve held a broad variety of roles including Protection Officer, Signaller, Compliance and Standards Officer and Crew Support Officer to name a few.

Tell us about your latest Train Crewing app, ALR 2023?

ALR 2023 is a digital annual leave request form allowing eligible train crew to submit their annual leave preferences online for the following year. It’s custom built in-house for crew around our specific needs which creates time and accuracy improvements over using paper forms.

The app is built using Microsoft Power Platform which I discovered a few years ago on another project. I’ve been using it to build apps in Engineering & Maintenance, Customer Operations and now for Train Crewing. This is the biggest app I’ve built to date in terms of individual users, and it’s great to see the positive response from crew, who have welcomed the ease of being able to edit preferences on their iPads.

How have you gained the skills you use now?

I taught myself to use Microsoft Power Platform by reading blogs and watching YouTube tutorials after someone showed me the basics. Now there’s a growing community of people across Transport using it. This is exciting because as more and more people work on this we can troubleshoot together and take things to new limits.

What would you say to someone else looking to learn new skills?

I love having a problem statement and finding a way to solve it. This makes more sense to me than sitting in a classroom removed from the real world. I’ve never been much good in a classroom environment and for anyone reading this who may feel the same – there are other options but it’s all self-initiated. This approach takes a lot of commitment outside of standard work hours, but when you find your passion it’s never a chore.

What career advice do you have for people seeking new opportunities?

Say yes to everything. You’ll meet people who see your potential and opportunities will happen organically. I want to give a special shout out to Bronwyn Mitchell – we worked together only briefly but her encouragement has helped me have the confidence to take up greater challenges.

Thomas standing beside "Tech help here" banner
Thomas recently completed work on the ALR 2023 app

Remember to submit your annual leave before the July 31 deadline. Eligible crew can open the ALR 2023 tile on your iPad home screen to access the digital form. Don’t miss out.

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