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‘Great progress’ made in rail sector skills delivery plan so far, NSAR reveals

Considerable progress has been made into delivering on key targets set out in the Rail Sector Skills Delivery Plan, the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) has today revealed.

Launched by DfT and the wider industry in December 2016, the plan aims to support ambitious rail investment initiatives by attracting a new generation of workers to join the industry.

It follows targets laid out in the Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy (TISS) which emphasised the size of the skills challenges facing the industry and set out plans to create 30,000 apprenticeships in transport by 2020, whilst also improving diversity and raising skills levels.

NSAR also stated that steps forward have been made on a range of other target areas in the plan, including the launch of NSAR-CONNECT, a service which helps retain those who have applied to work in rail by making people displaced by oversubscribed schemes available for employers without dedicated recruitment resources.

New apprenticeship standards have also been released, a new industry Quality Assurance Panel has been designed to support further research into opportunities to improve rail skills and manpower plans have been developed.

“The Rail Sector Skills Delivery Plan is a major and important initiative for the future of UK productivity, our railway and workforce,” said director of strategy at NSAR, Shamit Gaiger. “A key part of that plan is for rail to collaborate and work as ‘one industry’ so we can attract, recruit and retain the best talent.”

Gaiger added that NSAR had been working closely with partners in the Rail Supply Group (RSG), Rail Delivery Group (RDG), DfT and the RSSB and have recently relaunched the group Routes into Rail to address the rail skills gap by driving new initiatives to attract talent and increase diversity.

“This plan has been developed by the industry, for the industry, with input from over 60 businesses and owned by RDG and RSG,” she continued. “To date, we’re delighted to report that we are making great progress against the plan and its milestones within the timeframe, as planned.”

NSAR director also told the industry to “watch this space” as her organisation is now in an excellent position to put more initiatives into action.

“Skills are a slow burner, it’s a long-term investment and we as an industry need to act now if we are not to compromise our ability to deliver a rail system that meets all our future growth requirements,” Gaiger concluded. “This has been a great start for us but the delivery is ongoing for the Rail Sector Skills Delivery Plan. We must keep momentum.”

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