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Major rail bosses to lead new apprenticeship taskforce

More young people will be encouraged to pursue transport apprenticeships to address the engineering skills gap by a new partnership.

The Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (STAT), proposed in the transport infrastructure skills strategy published in January, aims to create 30,000 new apprenticeships in the transport sector by 2020 by shaping training in the sector and promoting it to young people as a career option.

They also aim to increase the diversity of the sector with a target of 20% women apprentices and a 20% increase in BME (black and minority ethnic) apprentices by the same year.

HS2 Ltd chief executive Simon Kirby, who started his career as a British Rail apprentice, has been appointed as STAT chair. He said: “Being an apprentice was a great opportunity for me to pursue a vocational education and gain experience in the workplace, whilst learning at the same time. I used my apprenticeship as a springboard for my career. It also equipped me with invaluable people skills that I’ve used in all aspects of my job.

“I am therefore delighted to be appointed as the chair of STAT, which will support the government’s ambition to treble the number of apprenticeships in the transport sector by 2020. Employers should see taking on an apprentice as an opportunity to develop skills within their business and this in turn can help young people to develop long and successful careers within their chosen sector.

“It is vital that we also inspire people from all different backgrounds to become an apprentice so that we can create a diverse workforce capable of delivering the unprecedented number of transport projects currently in the pipeline.”

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, recently called for the stigma against apprenticeships to end.

Transport minister Lord Ahmad said that the historical image of transport apprenticeships needed to change, adding: “Transport these days is about computers in laboratories as much as cranes in landfill sites. That is why STAT will help inspire and enable people from all walks of life to choose transport, and ensure we have the diverse and skilled workforce we need to deliver our ambitious agenda.”

STAT’s other board members include:

  • David Poole, Commercial and Procurement Director, Highways England
  • Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director, Network Rail
  • Beth West, Commercial Director, HS2 Ltd
  • Valerie Todd, Talent and Resources Director, Crossrail
  • George McInulty, Programme Director for Infrastructure, TfL
  • Paul Plummer, Chief Executive, Rail Delivery Group
  • Kevin Rowan, Head of Organisation and Services, TUC
  • Catherine De Marco, Deputy Director for Infrastructure Skills, DfT





Simon   18/04/2016 at 13:28

Whilst I applaud such schemes of getting young people into an industry where there are a shortage of workers whether signalling engineers or track maintenance people I do feel that train planning for example gets overlooked as part of the industry which is crying out for such people. Yes NR have operational planners but given the increase in passenger numbers on the network and also increase in freight services the industry is in need of more train planners working for TOCs and FOCs which the industry requires given the unprecedented demand for new services and freight flows.

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