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Rail industry comes together to support SkillsID

NSARE got enthusiastic support for its new SkillsID database for railway workers at a busy launch event in London yesterday.

Senior figures representing Network Rail, Transport for London, Crossrail, rail contractors, rolling stock manufacturers and the professional engineering institutions all endorsed the new online system at the launch event, attended by nearly 200 people, including RTM.

SkillsID will keep a verified record of individuals’ qualifications, competences and skills, and be fully portable from one employer to the next. NSARE – the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering – said it would be a radical, positive change for the industry.

Jack Pendle, engineering director at VolkerRail, which has been running a pilot of the scheme, strongly backed it, calling it easy to navigate, user-friendly and clear. He said: “This is something I really believe in”.

Each individuals’ record on SkillsID will include personal details like name, address and year of birth – which will also help in skills forecasting projects since it can be used to determine likely retirement dates – and, as a unique identifier, their national insurance number. It shows their PTS expiry date, if they have one, and who delivered it. At its core, however, is a full list of all relevant qualifications, skills and competences, accessible by the individual and their sponsor/employer, but hidden to others.

Network Rail – which is strongly endorsing the system – is planning to integrate it with the new version of its Sentinel scheme, being delivered by MITIE, and allow employers to be able to have a single data input. NSARE will then be responsible for transferring information from SkillsID to Sentinel, TfL’s LUCAS, and similar systems at the TOCs and Crossrail.

Importantly, SkillsID is about more than just safety-critical competences. Elaine Clark, leading the work for NSARE, said: “It’s about all competences and qualifications – it’s about the whole individual.”

TfL infrastructure programme director George McInulty told the audience that decades of under-investment in rail meant the industry was now playing “skills catch-up”, but that SkillsID would allow “full sight of the national skills landscape”. He added: “I commend, and recommend to you, SkillsID.

National Rail Contractors Group chairman Paul Kirk, who sits on the NSARE board of directors, said SkillsID pulls together all the main threads NSARE has been working on, while his fellow board member Steve Scrimshaw, MD of Siemens’ UK rail business, said his company will support SkillsID and use it for its own staff.

NSARE chief executive Gil Howarth said SkillsID is not only fantastic for employers and individuals, but also for the industry as a whole, as it will provide accurate and up-to-date data to help with skills forecasting and training requirements for the future.

Organisations wanting to use ID will pay a single tax-deductible annual fee based on company size – £250 for micro-businesses with 10 or fewer employees, up to £10,000 for large businesses with more than 1,000 employees. Early adopter discounts are available however, and NSARE members also get 10% off.

To find out more or sign up, visit

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(Above: Delegates arriving at the event yesterday)

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


Lee   15/03/2013 at 18:04

Am an ex rail worker trying to get back working in the rail industry but finding it hard . I have worked on east and west coast main lines renewing rail and lot of connecting lines around Cheshire . His there any help about I need to retrain for P.T.S .

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