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NSARE launches rolling stock academy with Siemens

A new training academy for the rolling stock and traction industry was given the green light at NSARE’s annual conference yesterday.

It is set to address a future skills shortage in specialist traction and rolling stock roles, with the first students expected in spring 2015. Around 100 jobs will be created in construction and operation of the facility.

The academy will be funded half by BIS, the DfT and NSARE, with Siemens providing the other 50%. It will be located at Siemens’ train depot in Kings Heath, Northampton and will act as a national hub, with regional spokes in training centres across the country.

As well as providing training for entry-level employees, the academy will provide up-skilling to respond to new technology developments in the industry.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: “This training academy will help increase skill levels across the rail industry and keep the wheels turning on a vital piece of our national infrastructure. It will see thousands of trainees pass through its doors and is a great example of Government working in partnership with business to tackle barriers to growth.

“National Skills Academies give business the chance to lead on developing the right skills and expertise, rather than industry training needs being decided by Government. The repay-able grant we are providing to NSARE will kick start the building of the new training academy with Siemens and benefit the sector as a whole.”

Rail minister Simon Burns said: “More and more passengers and freight are travelling by rail and Government investment to improve and expand our railways is at record levels. The construction of HS2 will see the addition of more than 350 miles of track to the network.

“Investing in our railways also means investing in the people who build and maintain the network now and in the future. The National Rolling Stock Academy will play a vital role in delivering skilled workers who can build a safe, modern network that delivers benefits for passengers and the economy.”

Steve Scrimshaw, managing director of Siemens Rail Systems, added: “This is fantastic news for the UK rail industry and will provide a significant and much needed skills boost.

“We are proud that Siemens, in collaboration with NSARE, will play such an integral part in ensuring rail industry employees have the skills and competencies required to maintain the next generation of trains in which UK Government is investing – keeping our nation at the forefront of railway engineering excellence.”

Gil Howarth, chief executive NSARE, said: “Skills are the foundation of a thriving, hi-tech industry. The new national training academy is vital to ensure ongoing success in this sector which continues to benefit from significant development as more and more people choose to travel by rail and trains become increasingly technologically advanced.”

Discussing the new academy at an NSARE event last year, Siemens’ Graeme Clarke explained: “We’ve got a lot of trains in service and a lot of trains about to come into service. And that’s given us a major problem. It’s an industry-wide problem. And the problem is that we are chronically short of people.

“The industry in all its aspects is moving away from the hammer, and moving very much towards the laptop, and the quality of the people we need is ever-increasing. Siemens’ training requirements are about 3,000 man-days a year, and in the foreseeable future are going to rise to about 4,500 man-days.

“Our project started out as a way of meeting Siemens’ training needs for the future, but obviously when we got involved with NSARE we realised that the project was far more and far greater than that…We want to provide world-class training for the entire railway industry, because it’s in Siemens’ interest that the whole railway industry – our suppliers, our customers, even our competitors – are healthy, and growing, and flourishing.”

He said then that the academy will include a virtual reality suite, plus both clean and dirty training rooms for academic and practical work. He added: “The training room will be full of functioning training equipment: we’re going to have bogies, door rigs, inverters, and they’re all going to be sequenced with each other, so you can put faults on them; one piece will affect another; you can do fault finding; you can do equipment changing – all kinds of things.”

For a full report from the NSARE launch event, see the Oct/Nov 2013 edition of Rail Technology Magazine.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Nonsuchmike   27/09/2013 at 16:21

Well done, Steve. I was delighted to listen to you @ Euston recently when this was announced. Oh, that you had worked your magic with Siemens 20 years ago! We would not have the capacity problems we have now and will continue to have for the next 25 years.

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