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‘A global shortage of skilled workers’ – Atkins CEO

Urbanisation and the expansion of rail present great opportunities in the future, but making the most of these will depend on attracting the best engineers against the backdrop of a global shortage of skilled workers, according to Prof Dr Uwe Krueger, CEO of Atkins. 

Delivering the keynote speech at the annual rail conference Den Danske Bane in Denmark, he added that two things are working against the industry in tackling the worker challenge. 

Firstly, banks and other institutions are able to offer higher salaries and attract engineers away from the sector. Secondly, a demographic shift means many of the baby-boomer generation have retired from the industry in recent years. 

Prof Krueger stated that partnerships between academia and industry will play a vital role in meeting the complexity of these challenges. 

He highlighted that in Sweden, Atkins is working closely with several rail-related schools ranging from the technical institutes of Stockholm and Lund, through smaller regional centres of higher education through to the National Rail School. “This makes it possible to influence how rail education is developed and to gain insight into where to find the best talent,” he said. 

In the UK, Atkins has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Heriot-Watt University to establish a Centre of Excellence for High Speed Rail. 

In his presentation ‘Railway development worldwide’, Prof Krueger stated that demand for rail is growing everywhere and it is being driven by urbanisation. 

He argued: “Meeting this demand requires evolutionary change: existing assets will require adaptation, while new infrastructure must be designed with the ability to handle challenges that cannot be predicted easily. 

“Our work today on planning and designing rail networks will be judged by future generations - improving connectivity is vital to the future-proofing of society and managing urbanisation.” 

Prof Krueger added that the industry must ensure that “as engineers we are sitting next to the politicians, the economists, the scientists, informing robust decision making and helping to put everything in context to help deliver transformational railways that people want to use”. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Kmrao   23/08/2016 at 13:29

Why don't you recruit skilled workers from overseas?. In India lot os skilled workers are available in Installation, Design and Testing.

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