Tuesday 25 August 2015
News from UIC Members

Network Rail, UK: Boost for rail skills

Training centres to support government transport and infrastructure skills strategy

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Network Rail’s £55m investment in its seven training centres across Britain were at the heart of a government announcement on 21 August 2015 showcasing a commitment to upskilling the rail industry.

The Department of Transport has announced that more than 30,000 apprenticeship places will be created across the road and rail industry over the next five years.

Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan CBE has been appointed to develop a transport and infrastructure skills strategy, to help us ensure a continuous pipeline of skilled workers.

Super seven

Network Rail’s seven national training centres are almost complete. When the final touches are made to Basingstoke, York and Swindon in 2016, they will join Larbert in Scotland, Walsall in the Midlands, Bristol in the West and Paddock Wood as a suite of state of the art workforce development centres which will in total deliver 270,000 training days a year for Network Rail and 250 different railway companies.

Chief executive Mark Carne visited Basingstoke this week with two Network Rail first-year apprentices Tanushri Gukhool and Princess Balugun. He said: “We need a highly skilled workforce to enable us to deliver our multi-billion pound railway upgrade plan and a network fit for the 21st century.

“That’s why we have a steadfast commitment to training and developing everyone from apprentices and graduates to up-skilling our 35,000-strong workforce and others across the industry with the latest digital, technical and engineering skills. We know this investment pays off with 83 per cent of the 2,000 apprentices trained since 2005 still working for us and contributing to a safer and better railway every day.

“We’re also building for the future with a programme worth £37 million adding three new training centres across Britain which will make a massive contribution to upskilling our people.” Mark Carne, Chief executive, Network Rail

The strategy

The government skills strategy will set out how government working alongside Network Rail and others in the sector will:

  • Deliver on its ambition for 30,000 apprenticeships in roads and rail over the five years to 2020
  • Ensure the right mix of apprenticeships are on offer, including many at higher levels with training in new technologies
  • Explore upskilling the existing workforce to meet new challenges
  • Encourage greater diversity in the workforce, including attracting more women into engineering, and
  • Develop a co-ordinated national network of transport infrastructure skills colleges to train the transport workers of the future.

“Training our rail and road workforce is essential if we want to build a transport network fit for the future. I want to see every part of Britain benefiting from a growing economy and that is why our investment in transport won’t just help people get around, it will help them get on.” Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport

(Source: Network Rail)

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