The new Rail Employment and Skills Academy brings together Derby College, one of the UK’s largest further education colleges, and the Rail Forum East Midlands, which represents over 150 rail related businesses across the East Midlands.
Based at Derby College, the Rail Employment and Skills Academy will be able to draw upon the expertise of world beating local rail businesses across a range of disciplines including construction, engineering, finance as well as support services.
The rail industry in and around Derby employs some 25,000 people and contributes over £2.5bn to the regional economy. With record levels of government investment in Britain’s railways the new Rail Academy will help develop a diverse and highly skilled workforce; enabling businesses across the East Midlands to win new rail orders both at home and abroad.
Rail Minister Paul Maynard, who attended the Rail Forum East Midlands annual conference in Derby on Friday, said: “The UK rail industry has all the ingredients to be a world leader and our investment in the Midlands Engine puts this region right at the heart of that potential growth and prosperity.
“We are creating thousands of high quality careers, with the aim of generating 30,000 apprenticeships across the country in the rail and road sector by 2020. This new venture from Derby College and the Rail Forum East Midlands is an excellent example of how industry and the community can work together to boost prospects for local people.”
The Rail Employment and Skills Academy Advisory Board will be chaired by Rail Forum member and CEO of ISS Labour, Simon Higgens. He will be supported by senior executives drawn from local rail businesses including: East Midlands Trains, Angel Trains, Porterbrook Leasing, Resonate, SNC Lavalin, LORAM UK, ESG Rail, Carillion, Atkins, Datum Composites, EliteKL, CoMech, Collis Engineering and Lindhurst Engineering. Sheena Hendrie of Resonate has agreed to act as the Advisory Board’s vice chair.
Elaine Clark, Rail Forum manager said: “The East Midlands is a world leader in rail skills and we need to ensure that we can build on this success. Our skills action plan aims to deliver on the work of the Rail Supply Group and will ensure that Britain’s rail supply industry is truly open for business and capable of winning orders from across the world. “
April Hayhurst is Derby College’s Deputy Principal Employer and Economic Affairs. She continued: “Derby College has a long association with the rail industry and we are delighted to be embedding this relationship further with the launch of this Employment and Skills Academy.
“Bringing together rail employers and Derby College will enable us to develop the skilled workforce that companies require to grow their business and ensure young people recognise the opportunities available to them in this industry.
“By working in collaboration we will create a pipeline of future talent – supporting our further and higher education learners into a wide range of exciting careers in this thriving and forward-thinking industry.”
One of the first tasks of the new Rail Academy will be to develop industry specific full time and apprenticeship programmes that address the rail industry’s current and future skills requirements. Employers will also raise the profile of the rail industry as a career choice for young people across the East Midlands.