Latest Rail News

07.11.13

DfT promises a ‘legacy of skilled transport workers’

The transport industry must work together to deliver a “skills legacy” for Britain, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has urged.

Speaking to the heads of Crossrail Ltd, the Highways Agency, HS2 Ltd, Network Rail and TfL at the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA), he called for them to work together to draw up proposals in partnership with industry.

Greater investment in infrastructure must be underlined with provision for the next generation of skilled workers to drive development and give investors long-term certainty in Britain, he said.

Apprenticeship programmes will be crucial to delivering this, skills minister Matthew Hancock added.

McLoughlin said: “We are equipping Britain to succeed in the global race with the most ambitious programme of transport spending in generations, totalling more than £70bn in the next Parliament.

“Alongside the huge improvements to infrastructure and services, we want to create a legacy of skilled workers capable of transferring their skills between flagship projects. 

“That is why today I have called on this team of industry leaders to work on plans that will equip the country with the expertise necessary to drive forward our economy for years to come.”

Hancock said: “We want choosing an apprenticeship or going to university to become the new norm for young people. An apprenticeship is a great way to start a career in an interesting industry, including in engineering and tunnelling. These apprentices are being given a chance to learn new skills and are getting real work experience at the same time on a major project.

“We have just announced apprenticeship reforms that will make the British system a world leader. Our aim is that the new Apprenticeships will focus squarely on rigorous training for learners and simplicity of use for employers which will allow our system to be responsive to the needs of the modern economy.”

Terry Morgan CBE, chairman of Crossrail Ltd and of NSARE, the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering, said that construction and engineering skills will be “one of Crossrail’s major legacies”.

Getting young people into the industry was “crucial”, Graham Dalton, chief executive of the Highways Agency, added.

Alison Munro, chief executive of HS2, said: “By talking to young people and by showing them how they can start exciting career paths, HS2 provides opportunities now and for the next generation to acquire and use skills vital for building a successful future.”

Sir David Higgins, chief executive of Network Rail, reiterated the need for a highly skilled and dedicated workforce.

Mike Brown MVO, managing director of London Underground and Rail, said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for us to recruit, train and retain highly motivated staff, while ensuring they get the skills and training they need for a long and fulfilling career in transport and engineering.”

William Burton, interim chief executive of CITB, which manages training at TUCA, said: “The tunnelling academy is central to the UK’s ability to deliver the national infrastructure programme, providing a high level of tunnel safety awareness for unemployed Londoners whilst upskilling the workforce and driving standards.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Image c. Crossrail Ltd

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