Latest Rail News

03.11.17

Skills gap costing industry £1bn a year, NSAR claim

The rail industry must do more to more to attract more diverse young talent into the industry, a senior figure from Network Rail warned yesterday.

It was also revealed that the skills gap that is being created by a lack of diversity is placing a heavy financial burden on the industry.

Speaking at the Rail Network Resilience 2017 conference yesterday in London, Loraine Martins, Network Rail’s director of diversity and inclusion, stated that whilst Network Rail is good at displaying its technical expertise to the workforce of the future, 50% of its audience is actually more interested in other areas such as the economic and social impact NR can have in different areas. 

She later asked how young people can envisage a career in an industry where they do not see themselves represented within that arena - be it by gender, race or disability.

The resulting skills gap is an expensive one, with director of strategy at the National Skills Academy for Rail, Shamit Gaiger, totting up the cost to the economy of £1.1bn a year by 2024, before taking into account the effect that Brexit will have.

One of the changes Network Rail has made in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience is to use gender neutral language in its job adverts.

When asked to consider whether the industry should focus on the search for qualifications or talent, Martins said: “I think we’re less adept at identifying people with different qualities that could transfer into our industry.”

Gaiger also echoed the importance of finding and nurturing talent, as opposed to focusing solely on qualifications.

David Quincey, Network Rail’s climate change adaptation manager, suggested that the industry should be looking to others that already have a more diverse mix, rather than trying to “reinvent the wheel.”

He noted that environmental and social sectors seem to have more women, for example.

Martins briefly outlined Network Rail’s more recent recruitment campaigns, highlighting the impact that the workforce can have.

She said: “We’re becoming a bit more confident to open ourselves up to saying, ‘this is what we do and these are the range of people and range of jobs that are available.’”

Comments

Andrew Gwilt   05/11/2017 at 12:55

That lady in the picture looks confident and committed. Sorry I know it’s not relevant.

RMT   05/11/2017 at 19:08

It's a stock photo. Just like the D Stocks that always appear for London Underground articles.

Andrew Gwilt   05/11/2017 at 19:35

Ok. Thanks for clarifying this to me RTM.

Jimbo   06/11/2017 at 13:39

One of my managers, many years ago, used to say "don't bring me problems, bring me solutions". So, Loraine Martins, Network Rail’s director of diversity and inclusion, isn't it your job to fix this problem rather than whine about it? Instead of saying that the industry needs to do more, how about coming up with some solutions?

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