Project Executive - High Speed Rail

the client

High Speed 1 Ltd (HS1) operates the 109km railway between St Pancras in London and the Channel Tunnel. Connecting the international high-speed routes between London - Paris and London - Brussels. High-speed domestic trains also use the railway, providing a much-improved commuter service between London and Kent. The railway is also capable of carrying freight traffic. HS1 Ltd is the owner of the stations along the route, including St Pancras International.

The role

The role of the Project Executive was a vital appointment to the HS1 asset management team as workloads continued to grow. The role would ensure HS1’s compliance with the concession agreement, in respect of engineering and project delivery; maintaining effective project governance in alignment with the HS1 business model, processes and procedures. Providing engineering and project delivery support to the route and station assets renewals and enhancements, whilst identifying, developing and implementing innovative and cost-effective solutions through the application of sound engineering and project delivery principles in conjunction with the engineering team. In alignment with internal processes and procedures, the role will develop and execute robust project execution strategies and plans that deliver projects to the agreed specification, on time and to budget, supporting stakeholder alignment throughout the development and delivery of projects and initiatives.


Having worked with HS1 on two previous appointments, Collingwood had a good understanding of the organisation and was able to use this knowledge and relationship to effectively promote the organisation to prospective candidates.

Using our knowledge of the rail industry and in-depth market research Collingwood generated a target list of organisations, working closely with HS1 to ensure the best possible results. Having identified the right people in these target organisations, Collingwood approached the full list of candidates and qualified those interested in the position, this process led to a longlist of 7 candidates.

Using our knowledge of HS1 and acting as a brand ambassador, Collingwood conducted full competency-based interviews to all 7 candidates on the longlist; delving into key drivers from a practical perspective relating to their project experience and from a personal perspective, ensuring the characters were right to fit in with the team. As a result of Collingwood’s interviews, 4 candidates were selected to be shortlisted and interviewed by HS1. 


HS1 conducted first stage interviews with all 4 candidates, selecting 3 to go through to a second stage. A positive interview process led to a successful candidate being selected by HS1 and an offer was swiftly made and accepted.

Client Testimonial

"I have worked with Collingwood on three assignments in the last six months and on each and every occasion we have recruited from the candidates they have submitted, not because they were ‘compromise candidates’ but because they were the best we had seen.

Collingwood's approach is somewhat different to your run of the mill recruiter in that they carry out extensive pre-sorting, selects a long list, interviews these and produces a shortlist of candidates, who in their experience are the ones best suited to the role. Generally, the shortlist will consist of four or five candidates and because of the quality checks being carried out by Collingwood on our behalf, we have always accepted this shortlist and interviewed accordingly.

Some of the roles that they helped us with had become ‘problem vacancies', and had been with numerous other agencies and advertised directly on a number of recruitment platforms with no success.

The thoroughness of the Collingwood process does mean that end to end the employer should be scheduled in 6 weeks from initial engagement with Collingwood to interview and offer. As a caveat in order for this process to be a success, the recruiting company needs to invest the appropriate amount of time in ensuring that Collingwood has all the cultural reference points with regard to your own organisation, and a deep understanding of the role and the team it sits within. Collingwood was very keen to engage with us to meet the team and gain a greater understanding of HS1.

I would have no hesitation in using them again."