Rail jobs, staff issues and training

24.07.07

Transport minister opens £13m Paddock Wood rail training centre

Rail Minister, Tom Harris MP has opened the first in a series of new Network Rail maintenance and safety training centres across the UK in Paddock Wood, Kent.

Network Rail is investing heavily in a series of these centres constructing new facilities as well as upgrading existing premises. It is investing £13.75m in phase one of the ten year programme, which includes new centres at Bristol and in Larbert, Scotland, to be completed by the end of 2007.

The Paddock Wood centre will train up to 90 rail maintenance staff at any one time. Trainers will hold practical workshops teaching skills such as soldering, cable joining, signalling and general maintenance. In addition to classroom-based learning are indoor and outdoor training areas with built-in rail tracks where students can put theory into practice, for example, by taking apart and reassembling points motors. The centre also has an IT training studio.

Network Rail's deputy chief executive Iain Coucher said: "Building and maintaining a 21st century rail network means not just working on the track now but investing in training and developing a top quality workforce for the future. I believe we have built a world class training centre in Paddock Wood with an inspiring and inviting environment in which to learn. This will help us to produce the best engineers and maintenance people for railways in Britain."

Rail minister Tom Harris said: "I'm delighted to be opening this new training centre. Improving the skills of the workforce will help Network Rail to meet the key challenge of maintaining and improving the safety and efficiency of the railways. This centre will enable Network Rail to recruit, retain and develop higher quality employees, and contribute towards making the railway a safer place to work - which is good news for everyone."

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

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