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Yorkshire Rail Academy to close next year

The Yorkshire Rail Academy, which opened a decade ago, is set to close its doors next summer.

Based next to the National Railway Museum in York, it was launched as a partnership between York College and the museum.

It had funding from Yorkshire Forward and the Learning and Skills Council and worked with Vital Rail in training engineering apprentices.

However as RTM reported at the time Vital Services Group, Vital Rail’s parent company, entered administration last year and much of the business was sold to Morson Group.

Morson decided not to take on the training side of the business in the acquisition, and the loss of the partner is one of the factors that has resulted in the closure of the academy.

The academy stayed open so that the final group of apprentices could complete their training, which they did earlier this year.

A National Railway Museum spokeswoman said: “Given the changing face of rail engineering training, the National Railway Museum and York College have decided not to attempt to launch a new apprenticeship scheme in the YRA at this time and are currently discussing how best to work together in the future.

“The National Railway Museum remains committed to education and is looking to grow the 40,000 booked educational sessions it hosts each year.” She added that the academy would close next August.

A York College spokesperson said it remained committed to working with rail engineering companies to ensure the education and training on offer met their needs, both now and in the future.

“We also remain committed to partnership working, both with the NRM and the rail industry, but we believe different models of training, especially in the age of technology, will be needed to meet the changing needs of the sector.”

News of the closure comes just weeks after it was announced that a new National Academy for Rail Professional Education was to be launched, with bases in York, Derby and London, as part of the new franchise for the East Coast Main Line won by a consortium of Virgin and Stagecoach.

Update 16/12/2014

A Morson spokesperson contacted RTM to stress that Morson never had any associating with the Yorkshire Rail Academy and that Vital Rail, which it purchased, only rented facilities from the academy. 

(Image: c. Alexander Chelmodeev)

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


Colin Thompson   19/12/2014 at 13:40

(An aside?) So how old is this shot? No safety helmets; no HV orange full-sleeved tops; no HV trousers. Not all items appear to carry reflective stripes. Our industry must not continue to portray infrastructure workers from earlier years for current matters. To be fair, the guys are wearing gloves. Otherwise, some showcase for an academy - even one that's closing...

RTM   19/12/2014 at 14:02

Colin - fair point. It's stock imagery, as you will have guessed. We'll update.

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