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NSAR launches National Training Partnership to drive skills in rail

A new skills initiative to help meet the growing demand for new talent across the rail sector has been launched this week by the National Skills Academy Rail (NSAR).

The ‘National Training Partnership’ programme will aim to bring together the organisation’s newly formed National Network of Colleges and Training Providers as well as the Training Alliance and Quality Assurance Provision in order to support the industry in achieving an integrated approach to education, professional development and training.

Launched yesterday at the Institute of Civil Engineers, the Partnership is also endorsed by the Rail Civil Engineers’ Association amongst a number of other organisations.

“The National Training Partnership is a huge step forward in optimising training provision and improving rail employment opportunities,” said Neil Robertson, CEO of NSAR. “I’m delighted to see the industry coming together to meet the increasing skills demands of modern rail through world-class training for new apprentices and post-graduates crucial to securing the UK’s long-term future success.”

Mike Brown, TfL commissioner and NSAR and STAT chair, speaking in his keynote at the launch of the scheme added: “The commitment that NSAR makes to the members of the National Network Partnership is it will work with you to promote the network throughout the sector to ensure that rail employers are aware of Colleges and Training Providers and provide advice on promoting the rail industry as a career choice to young people.”

The establishment of NSAR’s Network of Colleges and Training Providers aims to bring organisations like specialist training academies and further education colleges together to secure a steady long-term flow of talent into the industry through apprenticeship schemes.

Scott Johnson, head of Newcastle College Rail Academy, a recent addition to the Partnership, stated: “Becoming a member of the NSAR Network is not only a massive privilege, but an opportunity for the Newcastle College Rail Academy to become the recognised centre of excellence for rail education and training in the North of England.”

“The Key to the continued success of the Rail Academy is the close links forged with NSAR and industry,” Johnson continued. “Employers are at the heart of everything we do, from providing work opportunities to our learners, contributing and informing our curriculum and supporting with professional advice and guidance.”

NSAR’s Training Partnership also has the backing to TfL and Network Rail, who have allowed members in the network to use their training centres and facilities to be used to teach the next generation of rail workers.

Finally, Andrew Boagey, chair of the Railway Engineers Forum, commented: “Rail is hugely important to the British economy and we have a growing number of opportunities to export our railway engineering and operating expertise throughout the world.

“Building strong professional and academic networks, sharing best practice and increasing our technical capacity are all very important,” he concluded. “We are grateful to NSAR for setting up this this collaboration arrangement. It is a really positive step.”

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