Network Rail – National Drone Manager

super old railway drone pic

Milton Keynes MK9

£55,596 – £62,546 a year – Temp to perm, Full-time

Join our Asset Information Services function who specify, collect, evaluate, collate, analyse and share data and information about our infrastructure assets. This data is used to create insights and intelligence, helping asset managers, engineers, network infrastructure planners and maintenance teams make better informed business decisions.

You’ll help support the railway through repeatable, sustainable, reliable services and products. Our methods for collecting data are cheaper and safer than track-side inspections. The power of our data allows our customers to plan and deliver effective maintenance and renewals of railway assets. Together we are delivering improved safety and performance.

The result: A better railway for a better Britain.Main Responsibilities

Main responsibilities:

As National Drone Manager, you’ll be the accountable manager for one of the UK’s largest drone operators. You will be responsible for all internal drone operations within Network Rail, including the implementation and maintenance of rules, guidance and associated governance activities. This role will also involve managing organisational change so that Network Rail can scale the use of drone technology effectively and compliantly.

What will you be doing?

  • Defining and maintaining all internal documentation relating to the operation of drones, regularly updating relevant Network Rail standard(s), supporting policies and our Operations Manual to enable the business to meet its safety and legal obligations.
  • Establishing and executing a robust governance and assurance programme for all in-house drone activities to include, record keeping, pilot assessments, currency and battery management to confirm pilots are operating legally and to mitigate against the risk of incidents occurring on the network.
  • Implementing new or changes to existing legislation or Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB/ Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recommendations affecting drone operations to enable Network Rail to meet its legal obligations.
  • Leading the daily drone activity schedule for the organisation, and effectively managing the ‘Drone Framework’ to drive value for money, maintain supplier performance and high customer satisfaction levels.
  • Managing the flight management system/UTM, monitoring performance against the contract and escalating service issues as they arise to enable drone operators to operate safely.
  • Managing all aspects of in-house drone pilot training to include but not be limited to; selection process, appointment of training provider(s) and annual re-assessment of pilot competence levels that enables Air Operations to meet the needs of the business in relation to the provision of aerial surveys in a safe and legal manner.
  • Assisting the Head of Air Operations in relation to the investigation of any incidents or accidents involving drones, liaising with appropriate government agencies and preparing reports/briefings as required to help the organisation to learn, improve procedures and prevent repetition.
  • Providing high quality evidence-based advice concerning industry use of drones/Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) to the Head of Air Operations and other senior stakeholders that helps to drive future business decisions and strategies for aerial surveys and inspection of track assets.
  • Regularly monitoring and researching the development of new technology within the drone/SUA commercial sector, especially concerning the development of survey equipment and associated data processing techniques, seeking out opportunities for progression within Network Rail, for example, ‘Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights’.
  • Participating in drone projects from conception to close, travelling to relevant sites to support contractors and Network Rail drone operators e.g. sharing knowledge and expertise to help inform

The Ideal Candidate

Sound interested? This is what you will need to have:


  • Expert knowledge of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations, especially around the operation of drones/Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) and thorough understanding of policy development processes and techniques
  • Excellent understanding of the technological landscape concerning the development of drones/SUAs, camera sensors and data processing techniques, combined with practical experience of embedding these into business as usual
  • Relevant experience of working within a drone and/or aviation environment with the ability to design and deliver 1-2-1 and group training sessions
  • Experience of operating drones/SUA in the commercial sector and holder of General Visual Line of Sight Certification (GVC)
  • Proven stakeholder and contract management experience
  • Must live within 90 minutes of Milton Keynes

What could set you apart

  • Knowledge of aerial survey/operations/equipment
  • Knowledge of data processing
  • High customer service level
  • Team player comfortable working within in a fast-moving business
  • Degree or equivalent

Why Join Us:

At Network Rail, we believe in investing in our people. As a National Drone Manager, you will be at the forefront of empowering our employees and shaping the future of rail transportation in the UK. You will have the opportunity to work with a diverse, dedicated team and make a genuine impact on people’s careers and the overall success of the organization.

Ready to Make Tracks?

Don’t miss this incredible chance to join the Network Rail family as a National Drone Manager. If you’re passionate about driving professional growth and creating a positive impact, we want to hear from you! Apply now and take the first step toward an exciting and rewarding career.About The Company

We’re an organisation where people matter. We matter to millions.

Our role is to run a safe, reliable and efficient railway, serving customers and communities. We exist to get people and goods where they need to be and to support our country’s economic prosperity. Safety is our number one priority.

We’re undertaking an ambitious change. Our vision is Putting Passengers First – becoming a company that is on the side of passengers and freight users.

As one of the UK’s leading equal opportunities employers, our values and the way we behave is important to us and we have created an environment where we value and respect every individual’s unique contribution. We have seven employee networks that provide fantastic support, opportunities and development for applicants from all backgrounds. Click here for more informationPackage Description

Vacancy Type: Full-time but flexible working patterns will be considered.

Duration: 12 month fix term contract with potential to extend or become permanent

Location: QMK, Milton Keynes (must live within 90 minutes)

Closing date: 11th March 2024

Band & Salary: Band 3C £55,596 – £62,546 (plus band related benefits)

About us We’re an organisation where people matter. We matter to millions.

We offer excellent benefits, including:

  • Flexible working patterns such as working from home and working compressed hours
  • A range of pension schemes
  • Healthcare Scheme
  • Rail and underground season ticket subsidies up to 75%
  • 28 days annual leave, plus bank holidays and volunteering days (5 days)
  • 2 weeks paid reserve leave for our Armed Forces community
  • Cycle to Work Scheme
  • GymPass – Access to gyms across the UK
  • Access to ‘My Benefits’ portal which include discounts in food, technology and experience days

Click ‘apply for this job’ to apply. If you would like to speak the Resourcing Team, please contact [email protected]

Embed the Route Services approach video using the video icon in text box –

Network Air Operations offers a unique service – we provide aerial inspection of railway infrastructure without any disruption to train services or worksite activities. As part of our service, we also carry out both national and local inspection data and provide hosting for aerial imagery. We use both piloted and drone technology to provide thermal imaging, land surveying and inspections with images that can be used many times. This offers a safe, efficient and cost effective way to view our complex and broad infrastructure.

Apply here

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