Strategy to address UK rail skills shortage

Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan has been appointed by the UK government to produce a strategy to address the sector’s substantial skills challenge.

During a visit to the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) in Northampton, which is due to open in October, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the government’s ambition to see 30,000 apprenticeships created across the rail and road sectors over the next five years.

The National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE) has predicted a shortfall of 8,000 skilled workers over the next 10 years, with traction and rolling stock showing the most acute need.

Asked about the timing of this announcement, McLoughlin said: “Things like this don’t happen over night.

“This has been in the planning for a few years now and has been talked about for a few years so it’s not something that we’ve suddenly woken up to and said ‘gosh we’ve got a terrible skills shortage’… We’ve been working on getting facilities like this up and running.”

Morgan, who is also chairman of the shadow board at the national HS2 college, said: “It’s vital that we develop the workforce of the future, ensuring the transport industry has the right people in the right place at the right time, and crucially with the right skills, to deliver this unprecedented programme of infrastructure work.”

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