Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne visited the new training campus at the Basingstoke Rail Operating and Training Centre with two of Network Rail’s first year apprentices on Thursday (20 Aug).
Network Rail has invested £55m in its seven training centres across Britain, including Basingstoke, highlighting the company’s commitment to upskilling the rail industry.
Mark Carne, Network Rail chief executive, 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 others across the industry with the latest digital, technical and engineering skills. We know this investment pays off with more than 80 per cent of the 2,000 apprentices trained since 2005 still working for us and contributing to a safer and better railway every day.”
The Department for Transport has announced that more than 30,000 apprenticeship places will be created across the road and rail industry over the next five years.
Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Training our rail and road workforce is essential if we want to build a transport network fit for the future. 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.”
Network Rail’s seven national training centres are almost complete. When the final touches are made to Basingstoke, York and Swindon in 2016, they will join Larbert in Scotland, Walsall in the West Midlands, Bristol in the west and Paddock Wood in the south east. This suite of state-of-the-art workforce development centres will in total deliver 270,000 training days a year for Network Rail and 250 different railway companies.
Mark Carne added “We’re also building for the future with a programme worth £37m adding three new training centres across Britain which will make a massive contribution to upskilling our people.”
Network Rail is opening the Basingstoke Rail Operating and Training Centre to meet the demand for highly-skilled staff on major upcoming rail infrastructure projects. Staff are already taking advantage of the training facilities at the site, which are due to fully open in April 2016. The 5000 square metre training centre is the first campus in the country to provide training for staff from both Network Rail and South West Trains under one roof.
Tim Shoveller, Managing Director for South West Trains, said: “Highly skilled and talented staff are the most important part of running any railway, particularly a network as busy and as complex as ours."
“Basingstoke is an absolutely superb facility and we are delighted to be working alongside Network Rail to ensure we can continue to provide the very best facilities and opportunities for our staff in the future.”