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Skills gap ‘threatens’ future rail projects – RMT

A failure to invest in training and apprenticeships is leading to a shortage of skilled staff, rail union RMT has warned today.

This skills gap could threaten the timetables for future rail projects, such as Crossrail and HS2.

NSARE forecasts that the rail industry needs between 1,600 and 2,000 new people in the next five years, over 30% of which need to be trained at a technical level. The largest gap in terms of numbers is expected in traction and rolling stock.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The reality of under-investment in training and apprenticeships across the rail industry, combined with the dumping of core staff in favour of a casualised, agency approach, threatens the viability of rail projects of all kinds including the High Speed plans announced this week.

“The figures coming from NSARE make a mockery of the McNulty Rail Review plans, endorsed by the Government, to slash rail industry jobs in the name of cash savings. Britain’s rail industry will be left unable to cope with the progammes being laid out for the future if the Government don’t row back.

“RMT has already raised serious concerns over the latest job loss plan at Network Rail which would reduce the frontline operations workforce of 5600 to less than 1500 and reduce the maintenance workforce by 8%, or 1250 workers, including 800 track staff, and would increase the use of external contractors.

“This is a wake-up call for the Government, stop the rail job cuts and start investing in training and apprenticeships, or watch your plans collapse into chaos.”

For more on NSARE’s skills forecasting, see the Feb/March edition of the magazine where RTM speaks to chief executive Gil Howarth.

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


R. O'mard   22/02/2013 at 11:46

One thing is certain. The Rail Industry predominantly uses Microstation as its draughting/modelling package of choice. With Crossrails insistence on 3D models for its project, coupled with the governments championing of BIM for all new major projects/buildings etc; Unless more 2D draughters become 3D modellers, once the other projects really get going (HS2 et al) there will not be enough 3D microstation modellers to service all the projects. Programmes will slip and there will be hell to pay somewhere. More trainiing/cross training needs to take place before we get back to the stage where draughting/modelling staff are being poached from one company to service the requirements of another. Rates are already slowly on the rise and this can only accelerate as the requirement for more 3D Microstation modellers hots up. Be warned!

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