About Us

Over 25 years experience at senior level HR

About Rainbow

About Us
Rainbow HR was created by Fiona Irvine in response to the need for more commercially based HR solutions, with a strong focus on delivering transformational change. Fiona has continued to develop her skills in the area of business and transformational change, creating effectiveness and efficiency, across a range of business sectors for a variety of well-known organisations.

With over 25 years’ experience at a senior level in HR, Fiona is well known and respected within the transport industry. Fiona has been recognised for her excellence in HR having won the HR Network HR Director of the Year and the CIPD/ASA Excellence award, during her time as HR Director at First ScotRail, and is now a Fellow of the CIPD.

At Rainbow HR we focus on the people, developing their skills in the delivery of great results with a strong focus on delivering an excellent customer experience. We also have a UK wide network of associates - all who have a track record of delivering HR and change solutions to drive bottom line performance.

Fiona also uses Rainbow HR’s success as an opportunity to help people, giving 1% of the profits to charity as well as championing various charities and great causes through Charity Heroes, which Fiona set up.

Our Approach

For all of our clients we take the time to fully understand your business and the challenges you face.

We work with your teams to ensure that our solutions are right for your business.

We ensure that our project planning is robust and that change programmes are implemented with a clear understanding of the impact on your people and the business.

We always ensure that there is a clear monitoring process in place to evaluate what we deliver.

Our aim is always to bring a return on your investment. We are more than happy to have an informal meeting to understand your business challenges and put together a bespoke proposal with a wide range of options for you to choose from.

Our Clients Say....

  • [email protected] HR has supported the extensive recruitment activity being undertaken at Porterbrook during a period of growth and organisational structural change.  Key roles appointed include Head of Fleet Services, Refranchising Manager, PMO Co-Ordinator, Head of Digital Services and Engineering Audit Manager.  All recruitment is carried out by HR professionals with a background in rail at a senior level and we offer a high-quality approach for just a 10% fee.  Kate North, Head of HR for Porterbrook, said of the service delivered:

    "I have used Rainbow HR for recruitment to support transformational change within our business over an 18 month period. Fiona’s first priority was to understand our business culture and need. That understanding enables her to recruit the right people with the right skills for us. Her knowledge of the rail sector is excellent, and I have always found her to be professional and responsive when priorities change. I would highly recommend the service Fiona offers as a recruitment partner."


  • "Rainbow HR (Fiona) was critical in facilitating my appointment as Head of Digital Services for Porterbrook Leasing. The prompt and personal approach made the process seamless and aptly targeted. It has resulted in a successful match of skillset, requirements and experience."

    Steph Klecha, Head of Digital Services, Porterbrook Leasing

  • "I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and all at Rainbow HR for your help and guidance through the selection process when I applied for the Lead Auditors role with Porterbrook.

    It was easy to talk to you regarding my up and coming interview and it was helpful prior to my interview that you gave me some information on the interviewees and Porterbrook as a company.

    I felt totally prepared when attending the interview which, with your help and guidance went very smoothly.Once again a big thank you for your help through the process."

    Tony Brian Wykes, Lead Auditor for Porterbrook Leasing Company Limited in Derby

  • "As a candidate looking for my next role, I am always mindful of the experience I have had with a recruitment agency as a job seeker. If they treat me with dignity, respect and care as a candidate, you can trust they are representing the best interests of the business they are sourcing for!

    And in turn, as an employer, you want to protect the employer brand you have taken great care to build. This is why it’s even more important to me having lived the experience as a candidate, to only engage recruiters who I can trust to keep our business values and ethos at its heart, when representing us.

    It was this perfect balance between employer brand and candidate experience that led me to first experience Fiona Irvine and her wonderful team as a candidate and later as an employer. They make it their business to match candidate and business with such precision and focus – you can trust you will have a winning outcome."

     Sukhdeep Dhesi, Head of People & Culture, cifas 

  • "Fiona was instrumental in my successful placement as Reliability Task Force Lead at Porterbrook. Her knowledge and understanding of the business as well as her ability to extract key skills and qualities of candidates resulted in a perfect match between Porterbrook and myself.

    She helped to create that personal connection between my CV and the hiring manager to further strengthen my application. She has enabled me to take the next positive stride in accelerating my career forward."

     Chris Beales, Reliability Task Force Lead, Porterbrook

  • "Can’t thank Fiona Irvine and Tom Waddell enough for their support during my recent job search!

    They both offered advice and online webinars that were extremely useful when looking for my next job opportunity! During such a horrible time, the support and kindness both they and others have provided have been a positive I won’t forget.

    If you’re currently faced with looking for a new role due to COVID-19, I would recommend getting in touch with them."

    Rachel Stewart, Senior Communications Officer, NHS Lanarkshire

    Our Associates

    We have a superbly talented team of Associates in the business, with a wealth of experience in many different industries. Read on to find out more about them.
    • Kelly Barlow

      Kelly Barlow


      Kelly began her career as a Graduate Trainee at South West Trains and twelve years later took up her first board role as the HR Director.  Kelly has enjoyed a variety of generalist HR roles and specialised in internal communications and employee engagement. She has over eight years experience at Board level including, Deputy MD at South West Trains and has an exceptionally strong record in industrial relations, enjoying the challenge of a fast paced, commercial and ever-changing work environment.


      With experience in Occupational Psychology, Kelly is an engaging coach who is passionate about driving business performance through developing and enhancing the capability of organisations, individuals and teams.  A HR professional working in industry for over 20 years.

      Most recently, Kelly has spent the last two years in a Business Development Director role where she led a multi-million-pound rail franchise bid on behalf of Stagecoach, SNCF and Virgin in a joint venture arrangement bidding for the West Coast and HS2 franchise.

      Key Skills:

      HR | Industrial Relations | Franchise Bidding | Occupational Psychology

    • John Collins

      John Collins


      John is a career railwayman having joined BR from school as a sponsored student under their management training scheme which included studying Mechanical Engineering at Leeds University and progression to Chartered Engineer status. Further studies have seen him awarded degrees in Railway Systems Engineering and Occupational Health & Safety.


      In a career of over 35 years, John has worked in a range of rolling stock engineering and management roles in the freight and passenger sectors, including responsibility for freight rolling stock across South Wales and the South West. From 1998 John worked for Angel Trains initially as Standards Manager during which time he successfully led achievement of Angel’s first ISO9001 certification, then in a Development Engineering role specialising in wheelsets, bearings and brakes and for the latter 10 years in a senior management position responsible for HSQ&E across the business including running the company’s Health & Safety Council. During his time at Angel John also represented the ROSCOs at a number of industry fora such as RSSB Standards and other committees, RSSB Safety Management Intelligence System (SMIS) User Group and ORR advisory groups.

      John is also experienced with Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmarking (GRESB) system submissions helping companies achieve top quintile scores and rankings.

      Key Skills:

      Rolling Stock Engineering and Safety | Occupational Health & Safety | H&S and Quality Management Systems | Engineering Standards | GRESB | SMIS outputs

    • Lesley Dorrington

      Lesley Dorrington


      Lesley started her HR career in rail and has held senior HR positions within the Industry, she is also a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Lesley has over 23 years HR experience in large, multi-national organisations, all of which have been highly unionised environments.


      Lesley has significant experience of large government tenders having supported the West Coast Partnership, Wales and Borders and Essex Thameside franchise bids as the HR Workstream Lead and mobilising and delivering the HR commitments of the Essex Thameside Franchise.

      Her HR consultancy Arcus HR Limited was established to provide an HR generalist service.  She is passionate about providing pragmatic solutions and delivering the results that businesses are looking for especially in the areas of business and transformational change.

      Key Skills:

      HR | Union Environments | Government Tenders | Franchise Bidding |   

    • Karen Fitzpatrick

      Karen Fitzpatrick


      Karen is a published author, and has written illustrated guides on Edinburgh and Scotland. She started off as an editorial assistant, working her way up to become a commissioning editor in illustrated reference books, before going freelance.

      As a freelancer Karen has worked as a project editor, copy writer, features writer and proofreader, with her biggest clients including Google, NHS Health Scotland, Frommer’s, Dorling Kindersley and Scottish publisher Saraband (shortlisted Booker prize in 2016).


      With years of experience editing, Karen knows what works well on the page and is meticulous about typesetting. Over the last five years, she has worked as a bid (technical) writer and editor in the transport sector.

      In 2018–2019, Karen has worked as a bid writer for Arriva on the East Midlands bid, as well as for Rainbow HR to create a Technical Writing skills presentation for Porterbrook. Karen has also worked on Abellio’s West Midlands bid, the high-profile Clyde and Hebrides Ferries tender and winning NorthLink Ferries bid for Serco.

      Key Skills:

      Editor | Bid Writing | Copy Writing | Proofreading | InDesign

    • Cheryl Fox

      Cheryl Fox


      Cheryl started her career at 17 owning her own business which she ran successfully for 10 years. Cheryl then moved into the rail industry in 1997. Worked her way up the organisation to become Head on Train Crew in 2003 and then Customer Experience Director in 2011.


      Cheryl is a Customer Experience and Operations leader with over 20 years of experience in private and public transport. Specialist skills include creating and implementing customer experience strategies, driving business change and improving customer and employee satisfaction ratings.

      Cheryl is results driven and successful in delivering change management in both rail and the ferry industry. She is a successful proven negotiator with trade unions. Designing and managing introduction of new team structures, service delivery specifications, training and operational readiness for new franchises and new trains.

      Working as a work stream lead for successful rail, ferry and metro bids. Leads mobilisation, transition and transformation for new franchises. Excels in community, stakeholder and staff engagement. Is a qualified DfT evaluator

      Key Skills:

      Customer Experience | Operations | Mobilisation

    • Nigel Gomes

      Nigel Gomes


      Nigel Gomes is founder and Director of SEMOGEN Ltd, a procurement and commercial consultancy supporting businesses with delivering successful tenders and bids, managing effective supply chain changes and implementing strong procurement governance and processes.


      In a career spanning 23 years, Nigel has acquired both international experience with several major global companies and a successful track record of delivering significant cost reduction to these companies.

      Key Skills:

      Cost Reduction | Bid Management | Change Management | Procurement Governance

    • Joanne Hadwin

      Joanne Hadwin


      Joanne has a Masters in Employment Law, a Post Graduate Diploma in HR Management, and over 20 years’ experience in operational HR. Her experience has been gained across a number of sectors including FM, oil & gas, manufacturing and industrial services.


      Joanne is an experienced HR practitioner, her style is very much focused on finding solutions to HR challenges.  She has a wealth of experience managing complex employee relations issues. She has worked across the full employment lifecycle and her specialisms include managing large scale TUPE transfers and collective consultation processes. She is also a qualified trainer, mediator and NLP practitioner, and prides herself on being approachable and pragmatic.

      Key Skills:

      HR | NLP | Employee Relations | TUPE Transfers |



    • Susi Macpherson

      Susi Macpherson


      Susi is a senior HR practitioner within the transport industry, having worked for Eurostar, Network Rail, Eversholt Leasing and latterly as HR Director for Keolis UK. She is known for her strategic thinking, commercial focus and ability to build effective relationships very quickly.

      Susi has a BA Honours in Business Administration, is a graduate of the CIPD, member of the British Psychological Society and holds coaching and counselling qualifications.


      A true HR generalist, she has supported organisations across areas such as complex organisational change, organisational design, talent management, positive union engagement, HR governance and senior leadership recruitment within the UK as well as internationally.

      She has more recently specialised in the bidding and mobilising of new heavy and light rail franchises.  She has led various high scoring People/Leadership bid plans and mobilised Docklands Light Railway, Transport for Wales, Manchester Metrolink and Qatar Rail franchises.

      Key Skills:

      HR | Organisational Change | Talent Management | Franchise Bidding | Mobilisation

    • Lesley Malcolm

      Lesley Malcolm


      A graduate of Glasgow University in History and Politics and a Fellow of the CIPD, an accredited coach, IIP advisor, Qualified Behavioural Analyst (DISC) and an NLP Practitioner, Lesley has over 20 years experience in senior HR roles. 

      Lesley started her career in HR with a BHS Ltd working in Newcastle, Belfast, Manchester and Glasgow.  Lesley then moved as HR Manager to Makro Glasgow, the UK’s leading Multi Self Service Wholesaler and had a national role in developing policies, procedures and strategy for the entire UK operation.


      On leaving the retail sector Lesley set up as an independent HR consultant and was quickly appointed by a Compaq Computer Manufacturers to support their HR function.  Lesley was then asked to become a permanent Compaq employee and managed site employee relations and took a lead role in restructuring design and delivery and outplacement support. 

      After 6 years at Compaq Lesley set up Clearwater Brookes Ltd, a Human Resources and Development Solutions organisation; Clearwater Brookes Ltd provides organisational and people development support, executive coaching and outplacement support to clients from all sectors.

      Key Skills:

      HR | Employee Relations | Executive Coaching | Outplacement Support

    • Michael Malone

      Michael Malone


      Michael has a wealth of business experience from his time in Financial Services, nearly 30 years, where he saw firsthand the negative impacts of stress on those in demanding roles.  Michael now works with those in business who want to take a step change in their life and who want to optimise their personal performance, as their Life Coach and Mentor.

      Michael Malone is also qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist, and deals a lot with anxiety and the way in which we condition ourselves to react to stressful situations. Through hypnosis Michael can help you gain greater control over your responses to stress and empower your mind.


      As a Life Coach, Michael has helped many people to identify and achieve their goals, to overcome blocks and problems that were holding them back, and to build confidence and self-esteem.  From his time with as RBS and Barclays Wealth, Michael was the Workshop leader for topics such as Goal-Setting and Stress Management. Michael is also registered with the General Hypnotherapy Council, is fully insured, and subscribes to the code of ethics and practice required.

      “Working with Michael made a significant difference to my wellbeing” – Eileen

      “Michael is easy to trust and put me at ease from the very beginning” - Mary


      Key Skills:

      Life Coach | Clinical Hypnotherapist | Reiki Practitioner | Stress Management | Goal Setting | Training | Author

    • Rory Maxwell

      Rory Maxwell


      With over two decades of experience in the global transport and travel industry, Rory has been involved with front-line customer service roles to operational improvement, strategy development, programme management and leadership positions. He has also provided advice to transport authorities, infrastructure providers and NGOs in the specification and procurement of multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects, advanced CRM and operational software, the evaluation of supplier responses and the management of PFI/PPP schemes.


      Rory has regularly worked with bid teams in the rail and bus industries - successfully fulfilling roles as a bid programme manager, workstream leader, writer, independent reviewer and project manager. With several years running global benchmarking projects for the Railway and Transport Strategy Centre at Imperial College has given Rory first-hand experience of board-level decision making around best practice in operations, customer service and commercial strategy at the world’s leading metros and suburban railways.

      Key Skills:

      Global Transport | Customer Service | Strategy Development | Programme Management | Franchise Bidding

    • Rae McNicol

      Rae McNicol


      Extensively qualified in a range of established industry standards including Myers Briggs Personality Profiling, Insights Discovery & Mentoring. Rae works with clients to develop & deliver learning solutions that deliver measurable business results, enable improved individual & team effectiveness through personal growth and promote positive cultural change.

      In addition to her associate work with Rainbow HR, Rae is Director of Radiate Learning Ltd which provides Learning Consultancy to businesses across the public and private sector.  Areas of expertise include Training Needs Analysis, establishing frameworks to measure Return on Investment, Facilitation & delivery of Training.


      With over 30 years’ experience of working in Senior Roles within the private sector Rae brings a combination of Learning, Leadership & Business experience and a proven track record of building high performing teams to deliver great results across a broad range of business areas including senior Learning, Customer Service & Change Management roles.

      Rae is also a Mentor on the Scottish Chamber of Commerce UK Finance Mentoring Programme and was recognised for her outstanding contribution & support for business through a nomination for the Enterprise Educator of the Year Award.

      Key Skills:

      Mentoring | Personal & Team Training | Coaching | Learning & Development Solutions

    • Evelyn Temple

      Evelyn Temple


      Evelyn has been working within Finance, Payroll and HR for the last thirty years.  She started her career working in Accounts Receivable at DB Marshall in Newbridge.   Moving on to lead a team in Accounts Payable at Cameron Iron Works in Livingston where her people person skills were recognised.

      In her early career she focused on working for medium sized organisations where she gained comprehensive experience in all aspects of the different roles within the Accounting field.


      This experience provided Evelyn with the skills required to build up a successful Accounts and Payroll Services Practice over the last twenty years.  She focused on SME’s providing Finance Management, Monthly Accounts Preparation, Payroll Services, HR, Debtor Management and Accounting Software Training in various sectors including Healthcare, Software Development, Gaming and Retail.

      With a friendly and flexible approach to her work, Evelyn prides herself on the relationships she has built over the years with her Clients.  She becomes an integral part their business ensuring the best possible results are always achieved.

      Key Skills:

      Finance & Accounting | HR | Accounts & Payroll | Accounting Software Training

    • Tom Waddell

      Tom Waddell


      Tom is a Fellow of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (FREC), an accolade he has held for12 years. During his long career Tom has worked at every level in recruitment from Consultant to Owner and across a number of sectors, including more specialist areas of Police and Optometry recruitment.


      Tom also ran his own Recruitment to Recruitment agency where he placed a number of people into carefully selected recruitment agencies along with staff to support in-house recruitment teams.

      Experienced in permanent, contract and contingent labour supply from established businesses to green field startups, Tom is obsessed with getting it right and delivering on promises, Tom ensures the candidate journey is as good as it can be whilst delivering service excellence to clients.

      It was recommended I speak with Tom as I was looking for a new role, I was a bit skeptical at first as I had never used a rec to rec before. From my first conversation with Tom through my subsequent face to face meetings I found him an absolute pleasure to work with. Knowledgeable, ethical and hardworking spring to mind. Tom was always available to talk with me, even “after hours”. He knows the Scottish market well and has some fantastic contacts, the background info he is able to give is very helpful. Feedback was always swift and honest.

      Key Skills:

      Specialist Recruitment | Recruitment to Recruitment | Contract & Contingent Labour

    • Amanda Woodhead

      Amanda Woodhead


      Amanda is an experienced business change and project management specialist. She has a proven track record in delivering transformational change and high-profile commercial projects on time and to budget, within the private and public sectors.


      Amanda displays excellent leadership, communication and problem-solving skills, often working in high-pressured environments, providing strategic solutions with a focus on delivering maximum benefit and value for money for the client.

      Key Skills:

      Business Change | Project Management | Transformational Change 

    • Noel Travers

      Noel Travers


      Graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Noel began his career in a range of engineering and management roles whilst completing his Masters in Rail Systems Engineering. Becoming Senior Director for the RBS Rail Division, he oversaw the financing of rail depots for Southern Railway and released the Voyager trains to Virgin West Coast and Cross Country.

      In 2008 Noel moved on to join Bombardier, he was initially Sales Director across UK, Ireland and South Africa, then later took on the role of VP Project Management in 2013 and UK Interim MD & Chairman for two years in 2014.

      Noel moved to Unipart Rail in 2016, becoming Managing Director within the Rail division and in 2019, responsibility for the Unipart Manufacturing Group was also added to his role. Noel has also held several board roles including the Rail Industry Association and is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


      A Managing Director with a track record in driving organic and inorganic growth and a bias towards business development, stakeholder management, organisational change, business digitisation, M&A and people development. Noel has board-level experience in rail, automotive, manufacturing and logistics sectors.

      His practical experience includes commercial management, sales, project delivery, engineering, maintenance, capital equipment financing and supply chain both in the UK and several international markets. With a reputation for managing business change in challenging markets and environments through realigning business strategy towards emerging technologies and markets, he has a focus on maximising profitability whilst driving growth.

      Key Skills:

      Business strategy | Commercial Management | Organisational change | Business Development

    Our People

    Find out a bit more about the Rainbow HR team.
    • Rebecca Nicholson, PA

      Rebecca Nicholson, PA


      Rebecca began her career in The Guardian newspaper’s sales department in Edinburgh, after graduating with a degree in Media. She then moved into recruitment advertising and then on to become an operational manager in the employability sector for the last 10 years, where Rebecca has been successfully running teams to assist the long-term unemployed back into sustainable work.


      Rebecca set up her own business in 2019 to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs with administrative services.  She supports the team at Rainbow HR and is invaluable to ensuring the business runs smoothly.

      Key Skills:

      HR | Recruitment | Customer Service | Marketing | Administrative support

    Our Clients

    We are proud work with some of the largest organisations in the country. Here are just a few of them;
    Logo Abellio
    Client Arriva
    Client Baa
    Client Bahrain
    Client Bdacs
    Logo Bg Group
    Client Trams
    Client Firstgw
    Client First
    Client Firstcc
    Logo Flourish
    Client Flyingtiger
    Client Ica
    Client Keolis
    Client Lorol
    Client Lothianbuses
    Client National Express
    Client Palladium
    Client Porterbrook
    Client Scotrail
    Client Scottishgovt
    Client Serco
    Logo Bristol Water
    Logo Ratp
    Logo Talgo
    Logo Cifas
    Logo Miniso
    Logo TCG
    Logo Cancer Support Scotland
    Logo 3x1

    Our Partners

    We are pleased to work in partnership with these great businesses;

    Logo Eracura
    Logo Flourish
    Logo Prosperity Law