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Road and rail industry to benefit from apprenticeship plans

More than 30,000 apprenticeships to be created by 2020.

As part of the government’s pledge to increase the number of apprenticeships in England, it has been confirmed that the road and rail industry will be targeted in this Parliament.

It makes perfect sense that this industry will be targeted given that the government has set aside in excess of £70Bn to ensure that transport infrastructure is improved.

A commitment to investment such as this will not only create a lasting legacy, it will also provide opportunities across the UK.

And part of this is the pledge to create more than 30,000 apprenticeships in road and rail by 2020.

Terry Morgan CBE will be developing a transport and infrastructure skills strategy so that the transport industry has a constant pipeline of skilled workers.

The skills strategy will show how the government and transport industry will create the 30,000 apprenticeships over the next five years by working with various supply chain partners.

There will be a mix of apprenticeships offered, with training on new technologies available, while importance will also be placed on upskilling the existing workforce.

The skills strategy will also make sure that more women are attracted into engineering and also develop a coordinated national network of transport infrastructure skills colleges that will train the transport workers of the future.

Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, said that the workforce is “essential” for a high quality transport network.

He said: “Training our rail and road workforce is essential if we want to build a transport network fit for the future. That is why I have invited Terry Morgan to join us in this vital work.

“As the chairman of Crossrail, and the forthcoming National College for High Speed Rail, Terry has a track record of building skills in the transport sector. He is ideally positioned to work with industry to deliver a transport and infrastructure skills strategy.

“I want to see every part of Britain benefiting from a growing economy and that is why our investment in transport won’t just help people get around, it will help them get on.”

Today’s announcement of apprenticeships to be created in the road and rail industry has been welcomed by Network Rail’s Chief Executive, Mark Carne, who said: “We need a highly skilled workforce to enable us to deliver our multi-billion pound railway upgrade plan and a network fit for the 21st century.

“That’s why we have a steadfast commitment to training and developing everyone from apprentices and graduates to upskilling our 35,000-strong workforce and other skills across the industry with the latest digital, technical and engineering skills.

“We know this investment pays off with 83% of the 2,000 apprentices trained since 2005 still working for us and contributing to a safer and better railway every day.”

Highways England Chief Executive, Jim O’Sullivan, also spoke about the importance of apprenticeships.

“In order to triple the amount of investment going into England’s motorways and major A roads on an annual basis, from some £1.5Bn to over £4Bn, we’re going to need more industry specific skills available to us and within our business,” he said.

“The certainty of capital funding over five years that comes with becoming a government-owned company gives us and our supply chain the confidence to invest in people – attracting, retaining and developing capable people to deliver our expanding programme of work.

“An important part of this is the creation of apprenticeship opportunities across all disciplines so that we are building and maintaining a pipeline of talent into the sector.”