Ahead of the Spotlight Rail Awards, Quadrant Transport investigates why it is important for the rail industry to encourage innovative training and apprenticeships.
In the rail industry, there are growing issues surrounding the ageing workforce and a technical skills gap. Many organisations need to see apprenticeships as a key to growth and a way to reinforce the industry with fresh talent and innovation.
Apprenticeships offered by organisations such as Network Rail are hugely important to improving the industry, as it was outlined by the company in 2020 that it is committing to recruiting over 800 apprentices into the organisation every year as part of its ongoing commitment to meet the Department for Transport’s (DfT) annual target.
Spotlight Rail Awards is the best place to celebrate how young people are being supported and encouraged to take apprenticeships and training. To see a complete list of categories, click here.
Young People Need To Be Encouraged To Join The Rail Industry
Rail must become an industry that sets the benchmark for how other industries focus on their workforces by focusing significantly on how support can be shown and created for a workforce that reflects the UK’s diverse population.
A study conducted by City & Guilds and The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) revealed that over 28 per cent of the current rail workforce is over 50 years old.
Through the study, it was evident that apprenticeships can help to fill the skill gap that may be created because of the current ageing workforce.
Areas that matter most to employees can be upskilled through apprenticeships, and it provides an effective route to recruit and train future talent, address skills shortages and develop careers across core parts of the companies.
Improvements To Diversity Can Be Seen Through Apprenticeships
The lack of diversity in young people taking up apprenticeships is a UK-wide industry-wide challenge, and combating this is essential to see improvements in the rail industry.
Network Rail said in its ‘Annual Report and Accounts 2021’: “We’re determined to improve our diversity among underrepresented communities. We’ve seen improving trends in the proportion of female employees (14.4 per cent), and those from black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups (6.9 per cent), particularly in employees aged under 30.”
“Our leadership diversity is improving, with 25 per cent of management posts filled by women. More work is needed, and we will show improvements year on year.”
To overcome these challenges, Network Rail offers a variety of apprenticeships. They offer Level Three Engineering Apprenticeships, Level Three Finance Apprenticeship Schemes, Level Two Off-track Apprenticeships and IT and Business Services Level Six.
Spotlight Rail Awards Are Here To Highlight Innovative Training
If your company can showcase new and innovative training methods, healthy workforce cultures, exemplary apprenticeship and training schemes, or any other ‘stand-out’ performance that merits this award, then there is no better place to showcase this than at our Spotlight Rail Awards, held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel on 30 March 2023.