Category: Sheffield

3Squared Welcome Andrew Stephenson MP at its Sheffield HQ

Andrew Stephenson - MP, at 3Squared.

On Thursday 24th February, 3Squared were honoured to be visited by Andrew Stephenson MP at their office in the heart of Sheffield, to find out more about how the business is giving back to the local community by generating new opportunities and creating industry changing innovations and new technologies.   

 

The Minister was welcomed and given a walking tour by Tim Jones, Co-Founder and Managing Director, around the office to meet and greet members of the 3Squared team and find out more detail about how 3Squared support the local community; in particular, its academic partnership with local Sheffield Hallam University and apprenticeship scheme, which seeks to create new roles across the region and nurture talent within the innovation space.   

 

The delegates were also given a deep dive into the pioneering technological solutions that 3Squared provide the rail industry with. Highlights included an overview of how 3Squared are enabling the rail industry to solve its complex challenges, its involvement in HS2 and project highlights, including the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) and a BulkSmart application demo (developed for HS2), led by Martin Gleadow, Head of IT and Technical Innovation.  

 

Of the visit to the rail consultancy, Andrew Stephenson MP commented: “It was fascinating to see the innovation and ideas that thrive within 3Squared during my visit to their office in Sheffield. It is also positive to have HS2 suppliers in the North, in turn generating new opportunities and growth across the region.”  

 

James Fox, Commercial Director and Co-Founder, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to take Andrew around the office and give him an insight into 3Squared and how we aim to support the wider rail industry. We are extremely proud of our roots in Sheffield and look forward to playing a key role creating new opportunities across the region, for many more years to come.”  

 

The visit was a prime opportunity to showcase how vibrant and bubbling with capability the city of Sheffield and its surrounding areas are and which 3Squared is proud to play a key role in. If you would like to find out more information about new opportunities within 3Squared, get in touch with us here 

 

Academic Partnerships

3Squared Academic Partnerships

3Squared employees Rachel & Lucy at a careers fair. Lucy was previously a placement student at 3Squared but will now join the team as a graduate.

Successful academic partnerships can create amazing opportunities for all parties involved; the student, the business and the education establishment. A successful collaboration with a well-suited college or university provides a company with a multitude of benefits. However, it is important to remember that a fruitful partnership is built on mutual interest and investment in the students, the industry and the wider community, and it’s essential to ensure the student and employer are well-matched.

A year’s placement shouldn’t be a case of carrying out a year in a work environment for the sake of improving a CV or to acquire cheaper staff members, it should offer a wealth of opportunities for all involved to reap the benefits both now and in the future.

Our partnership

At 3Squared, we have a long-standing partnership with Sheffield Hallam University that has existed since the start of our business in 2002. Co-founders, Tim Jones and James Fox, both Sheffield Hallam alumni, have ensured 3Squared is well and truly committed to its partnership with the university. In the last 18 years, we have taken on 60 placements from Hallam, and our current workforce is made up of 60% Hallam alumni, clearly demonstrating a track record for converting work placement experience to real-world employment.

As with most placements, these are offered between the student’s third and final year, giving them the opportunity to transfer the skills they have acquired so far in the academic environment and build on those in the working environment. We have also recently been able to expand our partnership to include colleges, providing internships for students.

A successful partnership between a business and a university or college can create a scenario where all involved can reap the benefits.

Benefits for the student:

As well as the opportunity to build on their already learned skills and knowledge, a placement can help an individual to mature and grow personally, making them even more desirable to an employer upon graduation.

A well-placed student who is matched to not only the industry, but the business itself, has the potential to really shine. The student will also have the proven ability to integrate into a workforce, or more specifically, in a ‘team-based’ environment, as opposed to the individual working style of academia they are used to.

Placements students will gain skills specific to the industry or their chosen subject, while increasing their knowledge of the chosen sector. This offers a fantastic foresight into an industry, allowing the student to better consider their future choices in terms of employers or specific areas of a chosen field.

When a placement is a successful match and the student makes an impression on the business, there is the opportunity for employment after graduation, or at least the chance to reach out to those contacts made during their placement period for employment opportunities.

Crucially, for any student who undertakes a successful placement, being able to clearly demonstrate their ability to transfer their skills to the workplace, evidenced with references, will give them a distinct advantage in a competitive graduate recruitment environment.

According to Prospects, the graduate career experts:

‘Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can provide students with fantastic practical experience, so don’t discount them when it comes to work placements. They’re often overlooked, but small businesses are great for allowing you to act on your own initiative and develop your own way of working. What’s more, they provide superb opportunities for networking. If you’re a confident, creative and motivated team player who is prepared to get stuck in you could quickly become an asset at an SME.’

We completely agree.

There is no doubt that a placement at an SME can serve as a great stepping stone for students looking to climb onto the career ladder and gain invaluable insights into the working world. In fact, many of our past 3Squared placement students have gone on to have successful careers. Take former 3Squared placement student, Meg, for example. Meg used to work for 3Squared as an IT & Support Engineer and told us all about the vital experience she obtained and how it helped to shape what she is doing now. Meg said:

“My day-to-day responsibilities consisted of trouble shooting and solving any client issues, attending weekly check-ins with the clients, applying best practices and lessons learnt logs to improve current and future projects.”

She is now a project manager on the largest transformation programme within Co-op which is expected to bring in £70 million in benefits realisation and is currently overhauling the way it uses its stock system.

“My placement year helped me understand the next steps in my career as it gave me the opportunity to see what roles there are in the ‘real world’. I was able to figure out what I wanted to pursue after university.”

Like Meg, Simon Rose undertook a placement at 3Squared as a Software Engineer and has since gone on to achieve great things. He said:

“I worked in the .NET team at 3Squared from September 2013 to September 2014, then part-time (full time in the University breaks) until May 2016 whilst I finished my Masters”.

After graduating, he then left to do a PhD in Computer Science at Sheffield Hallam.

“I published papers and worked as a lecturer during that time (some of the recent placement students at 3Squared have been taught by me!)”

Since then, Simon has acted as the end point assessor for the Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist degree that is run by Hallam, gone freelance and started a digital marketing business. Simon added:

“I loved working at 3Squared and the skills that I gained there have definitely helped me in what I’ve done since. Both my programming & presentation skills improved hugely.”

Benefits for the education establishment:

The most obvious benefit to the education institutions who have proven placement partnerships with businesses is they can improve their reputation as a provider who not only offers the specialist education required, but is forward-thinking regarding a student’s future and employability, putting itself ahead of its competitors when attracting the best talent.

Working with local SMEs, as demonstrated by 3Squared and Sheffield Hallam’s partnership, gives an opportunity for the education establishment to form relationships with key local employers, clearing demonstrating its commitment to its surrounding community. This shows real social responsibility by keeping the skills and talent in its locale.

Benefits for the business:

Providing opportunities to placement students offers a host of benefits to your business. It is a fantastic opportunity to discover the next generation of talent that could be attracted into your industry, and the ability to fully engage those students before they enter the job market. Working closely alongside them as they take their first steps towards employment enables you to hone and develop the practical skills they need to succeed within your business. This gives you the chance to connect and build a relationship with them that can result in a permanent role in the future.

The management of placement students also offers the existing workforce the chance to nurture and mentor, building their skills and competence at the same time. For smaller businesses, younger people can provide fresh perspectives that may just change the way you do business – which is critical in an innovative company such as ours.

As with the education establishment, there is the social commitment to the local community that every business should strive to achieve where possible. Bringing in talent that has been honed on our doorstep is something we are committed to doing wherever possible.

Placements can also bring improved diversity and inclusivity to your business by attracting a wide range of individuals from all kinds of backgrounds. Diversity is beneficial in so many ways, helping your organisation to better understand its customers, boost innovation and increase company performance.

How it works in reality

3Squared’s alliance with Sheffield Hallam University has provided numerous benefits, across the board, for many years now. It not only gives us access to the next generation of digital workers and helps us obtain fresh perspectives into our industry, but it also enables us to cultivate top talent at a grassroots level.

Sheffield Hallam benefits by being able to develop students’ employability via a local business they trust and share a close relationship with, and students are able to gain meaningful experience. Working for a SME such as ourselves, as opposed to larger corporations, exposes them to different areas of the business. Working in an intimate environment means they are easily able to form valuable connections and make contributions that make a real difference.

Everyone’s a winner

In the rail and tech industries, many companies and institutions work together incredibly successfully, providing placement opportunities that are fit for purpose and mutually beneficial for all involved. The UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) is a fantastic example of the rail industry acknowledging the skills and knowledge available within higher education and how it can be used to accelerate new technologies and provide a step-change in innovation for the rail industry.

When it comes to forging successful academic partnerships, our view is that everyone benefits if the placement is carried out thoughtfully and when the student is matched with a business in which they will thrive. Many institutions and business offer placements, but crucially it is the partnership between the two that results in the success stories for all of those involved.

To find out more about our partnership with Sheffield Hallam University, take a look at one of our recent blog posts here.

Sheffield’s 3Squared celebrates 18-year partnership with Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield Hallam University 18 year partnership

Thanks to a fantastic collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, digital solution specialists, 3Squared is celebrating the 18th year of awarding work placements to its students.

 

With each placement lasting 12 months, 3Squared has now provided placements to more than 60 Sheffield Hallam students, from its Department of Computing and Business School.

 

During 2020, 5 new placement students started their journey following 3Squared’s involvement in the university’s Preferred Placement Scheme, and next month sees the 60th graduate start a full-time position with the company along with 10 more confirmed placement students starting this Summer.

 

James Fox, co-founder and Commercial Director of 3Squared, comments:

“I’m really proud of our partnership with Sheffield Hallam. We have been working with the university since our business began back in 2002, following our own graduation from the university. We understand from our own experience how valuable work placements can be, particularly in such an innovative sector, and we’re delighted to be able to offer something back to the university and the local Sheffield community. Over 60% of our current staff are graduates of Sheffield Hallam, and the majority of our placement students have gone on to become 3Squared employees. This is a fantastic track record for us and the university, and really demonstrates both the power of the partnership and the calibre of the students in the area.”

 

Mike Heselton, Computing Employability Lead at Sheffield Hallam University, comments:

“We are incredibly proud of our relationship with 3Squared and the real depth of the partnership that has offered advantages to so many students, year on year for nearly two decades. The quality of 3Squared’s placements ensures our students are not just shadowing others in the workplace but are spending 12 months in a real, paid job and gaining valuable insight into the working world. The 3Squared team shows a real understanding of what creates a worthwhile placement, through the support they give, not only during the placement year, but also beyond. The success of our partnership is clearly evident in the number of permanent roles that have resulted from placements and we look forward to many more students working with 3Squared in the years to come.”

 

Simon Rose, who now runs his own digital marketing company, comments:

“I undertook my placement year with 3Squared from September 2013 until September 2014 and also returned to work there while studying for my Masters and during holiday breaks. I worked with the .NET team and the skills and experience I gained there have definitely helped me with what I have gone on to do since. In the three years I worked with 3Squared, my programming skills hugely improved and also my presentation skills and confidence developed through dealing directly with clients. I also learnt a lot about business processes from watching how clients were moved through the system. It was a great place to work with a really supportive team and I’d highly recommend doing a placement there.”

 

3Squared is based at Fountain Precinct in the city and offers pioneering digital software solutions, with high profile contracts and clients including HS2 and Network Rail. Founded by Sheffield Hallam alumni James Fox and Tim Jones, 3Squared was established in 2002 following their graduation and so began the long standing and incredibly successful partnership. James, Tim and the 3Squared team are committed to investing in the next generation of digital talent, especially if it comes from the local area and the ongoing partnership with Sheffield Hallam University is just one of the ways they are investing in the city and their local community.

 

Find out more about the solutions our software can supply and book a demo. 

Sheffield’s digital boom

Sheffield's digital boom graphic

The steel city’s historic reputation for metal means you might not immediately associate it with technology, but it is in fact, fast becoming a digital hotspot. In addition to its advanced manufacturing and engineering capabilities, Sheffield has a thriving digital scene, contributing over £2bn a year to the local economy. A digital report from the University of Sheffield cited that the number of digital jobs stands at 21,000 in the region, with a turnover growth rate of 47% a year. (Source: The University of Sheffield).

Tech clusters in the north

Sheffield and the north, in general, is bursting at the seams with tech specialists making significant contributions to the economy, particularly with regards to rail. The “Rail Innovation Eco-System” report from The University of Leeds and University of Huddersfield revealed that in Yorkshire and the Humber, 36 companies have created digital systems to optimise train planning and operations. These 36 companies contributed revenues of £0.4bn in 2018 (source: University of Huddersfield).

Tech savviness within the city

Sheffield has always had a brilliant creative scene and technically innovative culture. Companies such as 3Squared, and many others including PlusNet and WANdisco, that have grown up here have a real affinity with Sheffield, and a dedication to nurturing grassroots talent. It is perhaps the city’s real sense of a tech community as well as the availability of high-quality digital talent from two leading tech-fluent universities that has subsequently attracted larger organisations to locate in the city.

Sheffield’s importance on the northern tech scene is demonstrated by the fact that the city is home to the High Value Catapult centre’s Factory2050 at the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre), and the virtual Digital Manufacturing Meet Ups that explore the impact and reach of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, of which tech is a critical component. Sheffield is truly becoming an increasingly important digital hub.

The steel city also boasts clear buy-in from policymakers with tech-centred bodies such as Sheffield Digital having a strong presence. The Sheffield city trade association works hard to encourage members to work together to achieve a combined voice for the tech sector. From a community perspective, it works to support the tech sector in the Sheffield City Region, and helps individuals by preparing them for jobs in the digital workplace by providing skills bootcamps etc.

It is the passion and drive of organisations like Sheffield Digital and Factory2050 that helps to create a buzz around tech, putting Sheffield on the map as a thriving digital hub. From a rail industry standpoint, Sheffield is also on the cusp of realising the benefits of the Digi-Rail initiative. DigiRail is an ERDF part-funded project which provides innovative support for forward-thinking digital SMEs in rail, located within the Sheffield City Region.

Upskilling the workforce through better transport access

We believe that Sheffield’s digital prominence is due, in part, to its geographical position. Being in the ‘middle’ of the country makes it an attractive location for tech businesses wanting to set up shop there. Being close to larger cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and London means it is easy for businesses to expand into and travel to other areas nearby.

Better still, Transport for North and Northern Powerhouse have strong links with the steel city and are all about better connecting our “metro centres” to ensure that people can access a larger job market through a more accessible and affordable public transport system in turn addressing the north’s productivity and performance gaps (source: Transport for the North). The provision of better-connected transport systems engenders socio-economic mobility. Access to better transport means access to a wider job market, thus creating an increased demand for upskilling the workforce to satisfy the needs of the modern job market, including those needed to design, build and maintain the digital railway that will be Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Nurturing digitally capable talent from a young age

A growing and buzzing hub with an increasing number of tech businesses is no doubt a positive for young people entering the workforce. It is now time to take care as a city and look more closely at how tech sectors can work better together to recruit diversely and attract people who wouldn’t normally think about working in the city or pursuing a career in tech.

This is especially relevant in rail. Now more than ever, the rail industry needs to be working together, collectively, if it is to develop a workforce that is capable of meeting the demands of the digital railway. We know that as the railway continues to digitalise, new jobs and careers will emerge that are unknown to us now.

The industry has long grappled with an ageing workforce, in addition to its struggles to attract enough people with the necessary skillsets for STEM-related jobs. The speed at which digital technology is transforming the rail landscape means that work roles are going to be very different in 5-10 years’ time, making it ever-more crucial that the industry tackles the widening skills gap and recruits the best people for the future of rail.

It has never been so important for the rail sector to make every effort to engage with children early on in the learning process i.e. in schools. There is an ongoing need to make school children aware of career paths that will be available to them and the digital skills they will require. Stereotypically, our younger generations are growing up with constantly evolving technologies and so a workplace that does not require these skills might not be attractive in the first place. But to truly appeal to the future workforce, the current working population needs to better engage and show them the reality of an industry that puts digital capability at the heart of its own development. Engaging with schools to provide meaningful learning, whether that is sharing first-hand experiences, providing contextualised learning or work experience will prove invaluable in preparing the younger generation for emerging jobs.

Strong academic partnerships

Finally, we turn to the role of the Universities. As mentioned above, both Sheffield Hallam and Sheffield University have helped to power the recent wave of economic development in the city and there is a long history of collaborative academic partnerships between both universities and employers. These factors play a huge role in driving innovation and attracting forward-thinking tech start-ups, SMEs and enterprises to locate in the city region. Partnering with universities gives businesses better control over the career development process, ensuring they hire and train the right candidates from the outset.

At the same time, it requires a dual approach. Employers need to work closely with academia and vice versa to ensure that optimum outcomes are achieved for both parties. From day one of graduating, 3Squared’s founders, James and Tim, have cultivated a close relationship with Sheffield Hallam, having established a now 18-year-old company that has constantly nurtured talent from the university. 3Squared also works with Sheffield College to recruit employees through apprenticeship schemes, recognising that attracting, identifying and nurturing skills is not only just about traditional qualifications; technology can also provide a wealth of careers, and through a wealth of education and training paths.

To conclude, Sheffield has developed a strong symbiotic relationship with the tech sector, both as an incubator of a technically innovative community and as an emerging centre of digital excellence that will continue to pull more digitally dependent companies.

Sheffield’s 3Squared brings home coveted Rail Business Award for excellence

3Squared Coveted Rail Business Award for Excellence

Digital solutions and software specialist for the rail industry, 3Squared, has taken the top prize in the Supplier and Contractor Excellence category at this year’s Rail Business Awards (RBAs).

The Sheffield company beat strong competition to be crowned the winner in a category that focused on successful collaboration and innovation across the rail industry, for its ground-breaking RailSmart suite of digital solutions.

This year’s RBA event took place online for the first time over two days this week and 3Squared was announced as the winner via video at 12pm today.

The judges commented:

“3Squared has steadily evolved its RailSmart suite of products in partnership with significant clients to provide additional functionality for train operators and infrastructure managers.

“The company has continued to develop its business while giving back to the next generation.”

James Fox, co-founder and Commercial Director for 3Squared, comments:

“We are incredibly proud to be recognised by the Rail Business Awards, which is such a highly regarded awards programme in the industry. We work hard to build strong relationships with our clients that create a collaborative working process to produce a greener, safer and more efficient railway, and we’re delighted this has been saluted by the RBAs.

“This award is testament to our passionate and dedicated team here at 3Squared, a lot of whom are Sheffield Hallam alumni, and we couldn’t be prouder of the work they do and the recognition they are receiving. It is fantastic that the judges acknowledged how important it is to our business to encourage and nurture the next generation of talent here in Sheffield.”

For two decades, 3Squared has worked with customers to resolve big challenges through technology within the rail sector. Clients include Network Rail, Bombardier, GB RailFreight, ScotRail and LNER to name a few, and it’s the company’s commitment to long-term partnerships and its continued efforts to find innovative solutions that has been celebrated with this latest award.

Discover more about RailSmart and book a demo. 

Sheffield-based 3Squared joins effort to close digital divide during lockdown

3Squared tries to close digital divide during lockdown

With a donation of £5000 digital software and services company 3Squared joins businesses from across the city in support of Laptops for Kids.

Launched by The Star and data software company WANdisco, Laptops for Kids is a charitable organisation that facilitates the donation and repurposing of used digital devices, enabling children from disadvantaged backgrounds to have access to the technology they need to participate in remote learning, bridging the digital divide which has become more prevalent due to the Coronavirus lockdown.

The generous donation from 3Squared nearly doubles the current GoFundMe total and adds to the donations of used devices which have already been given to the charitable organisation from businesses large and small.

To avoid data leakage, donors can erase devices themselves. Alternatively, The Sheffield College can erase devices using software donated by Blancco plc, the global leader in certified data erasure. Learn Sheffield, a non-profit owned by schools, colleges and Sheffield City Council, is distributing the recycled devices to schools according to need.

Tim Jones, Co-Founder and Managing Director at 3Squared, said:

“Children having access to devices at home for distanced based learning is a national problem. With nearly one in 10 households without access to a laptop, tablet or PC, many of our children are missing out on vital education. It’s great to see companies within the Sheffield City Region stepping up to address this issue locally. Having young children myself, and with many of our employees with young families, this is an issue close to our hearts. I’d urge other companies in the region to get involved and donate devices or money to support this worthy cause. Together we can make an impact and ensure that the children of our region don’t get left behind.”

David Richards, founder and CEO of WANdisco plc, said:

“Many thanks to 3Squared for its generous donation to the Laptops for Kids campaign. We urge successful companies to come forward and help us close the digital divide. Young people must not be denied their right to education during the pandemic.”

3Squared supplies expert consultancy and technology solutions developed to tackle known and emerging rail challenges. It helps customers to implement digital solutions that drive change within their business, increase productivity, mitigate risk and reduce cost.

Find out more about the solutions our software can supply and book a demo. 

Sheffield’s 3Squared features in Top Tech Yorkshire list

3Squared Top Tech Yorkshire List

Specialists in digital solutions for the rail industry, 3Squared, has today been named as one of 20 technology pioneers in its region for the third time, by Top Tech Yorkshire.

The annual list, organised by law firm Mills and Reeve, celebrates companies who push the boundaries of what is possible within the technology arena, as well as those who adapt to the changing landscape of digital requirements.

Top Tech recognised that 3Squared’s award-winning RailSmart applications suite provides vital solutions to help accelerate the journey towards a digitised railway. The collaborative way of working and the technology developed by 3Squared was heralded as making the rail industry safer, greener and more efficient.

Tim Jones, co-founder and Managing Director of 3Squared, comments:

“It’s fantastic news to once again be recognised in the Top Tech Yorkshire list. This is a real testament to our dedicated team who constantly thrive to create bespoke digital solutions for our rail industry customers in order to increase productivity, mitigate risk and reduce costs.

“With the challenges faced throughout 2020, we are delighted to have played our part in supporting the rail industry adapt to new ways of working to keep Britain moving throughout the pandemic. Digital solutions have proved more important than ever and here at 3Squared we are incredibly proud of the difference our flagship RailSmart suite is making to the industry and for the recognition from Top Tech Yorkshire as one of the region’s pioneering and innovative technology companies.”

Judges also celebrated 3Squared’s investment in its workforce, commitment to inclusivity and its strong links to Sheffield Hallam University, helping to encourage the next generation of rail and technology talent.

Sheffield-based 3Squared wins industry award for growth

3Squared Industry award for growth winners

3Squared named as joint winners of the Railway Industry Association’s (RIA) SME Growth Award alongside fellow nominee Motion Rail.

 

The award, sponsored by Classone Systems Limited, was one of eight awards presented during the Rail Industry Supplier Excellence (RISE) Awards which was held virtually for the first time on Wednesday evening (4 November 2020).

The RISE Awards are open to all RIA Members and aim to celebrate their contribution to the UK rail supply sector across a number of areas including: innovation; exports; environment and sustainability; safety and wellbeing; and equality, diversity and inclusion.

In their entry 3Squared, a digital solutions specialist based at Fountain Precinct in Sheffield, illustrated their key achievements from the past year and the significant growth they have experienced.

 

James Fox, Co-Founder and Commercial Director at 3Squared commented:

“We are delighted to be co-winners of the RIA SME Growth Award 2020. This year has seen significant changes for the team and our customers, to be able to show that we are not only existing but thriving at such a time is a testament to our dedicated team and we are extremely proud of what we have achieved.

Being included in the shortlist for this award alongside such worthy SME’s as Motion Rail, One Big Circle and SEMP was a fantastic achievement but to win, with Motion Rail, we are blown away.”

3Squared supply expert consultancy and digital solutions developed to tackle known and emerging rail system challenges. With a dedicated team committed to using their knowledge and expertise to deliver technological solutions they design tools to support their rail industry customers to increase productivity, mitigate risk and reduce cost.

Find out more and book a demo here.

A year in the life of 3Squared

A year in the life of 3Squared

As we head into the second week of the new financial year for 3Squared, we take the time to pause, reflect and look back at key milestones from across the past 12 months. And what a momentous 12 months it has been.

Starting the year in style

The team kicked the year off in style with the news that 3Squared’s RailSmart technology product was named “Highly Commended” at the annual Railway Industry Innovation Awards on 28 June 2019 – quite the coup to begin the year with. This was shortly followed by the first of 17 new appointments to be made this year, with Lucy Prior MBE joining the team as Business Engagement Director in August 2019.

Investing in their people

Throughout the year, Managing Director Tim Jones, and Co-Founder and Commercial Director James Fox, have remained fully committed to investing in their people. To reaffirm its belief in its people, the team have been able to showcase their continued support to helping the growth and development of new skills and talent for the industry this year, by taking on a further five placements students from Sheffield Hallam University. The students gain valuable experience in a thriving business and get a taste of what life would be like after they graduate. In addition the team, led by Lucy Prior, were instrumental in the development of the Rail Human Library event. This event was due to take place in partnership with ‘Get Up to Speed’, an initiative that attracts over 3,000 students from across the North, East and Midlands, encouraging them to take an interest in the Construction, Technology and Manufacturing sectors. Scheduled to take place during the second week of the Coronavirus lockdown, Lucy and RHL founder Tracey Baber rallied the industry to run the event digitally through Twitter and Facebook, in turn generating some fantastic results and positive engagement.

Committed to the North

Picking up awards has become something of a habit, as towards the end of 2019, 3Squared was named as one of Yorkshire’s Top 20 Technology companies and at the end of May, they added a finalist position in the Northern Tech Awards Top 100 Fastest Growing Technology Companies to their growing list of accolades. Building on their strong bond with the region, 3Squared further committed their future to the North in early 2020, as they invested in and moved into a shiny new office space in central Sheffield on a 10-year lease.

Investing in the future

As the team continued on their growth mission, an investment of over £1m was made to further enhance 3Squared’s RailSmart products. These developments will add increased functionality and improved user experiences, which existing customers will be able to take advantage of including East Midlands Railway and LNER, who renewed their RailSmart subscriptions in May and June respectively.

Finishing the year with a string of new contract wins

The good news kept on coming in June, as 3Squared closed out their financial year with a string of new RailSmart contracts. In a consortium with Rail Operations Group and Freightliner, 3Squared were successful in winning the RSSB Dynamic Train Planning Competition, securing funding to develop an innovative solution to help rail freight plan short term paths more effectively. Less than one week later, 3Squared signed a three-year deal to supply RailSmart to Network Rail following a competitive tender process. Looking ahead, Network Rail will be harnessing RailSmart to proactively manage and improve the capabilities of its operational staff. Finally, they closed out the year with the landmark announcement that they will be working with one of HS2’s direct contractors, Skanska Costain STRABAG JV (SCS JV), who are delivering the tunnelling programme for the route between London Euston up to the M25.

Tim Jones, Managing Director, comments on 3Squared’s landmark year:

“We have had a really busy and eventful year at 3Squared but it is only when you stop to reflect and list everything we have achieved that you really appreciate it. What is even more amazing about this, is that the majority of this work has been completed during the Covid-19 lockdown as the team and our customers work remotely and quickly adjust to the new normal.

“Our success is testament to our brilliant and passionate team and the collaborative relationships we have with our customers has enabled us to make the progress in the way that we have. We are excited for the coming year and beyond, and look forward to sharing more of our good news with you in the future. Thank you for your continued support.”