New Transport Infrastructure Skills Board established to maximise jobs and skills opportunities
A newly formed Transport Infrastructure Skills Board has been launched by the Council’s arms length Skills and Growth Company.
The board builds on previous rail sector skills development and brings together major employers such as Network Rail, Atkins (part of SNC Lavalin) and Jacobs with education and training providers, local colleges and universities, alongside policy makers and HS2 to identify and address the skills issues and challenges facing the sector.
Working collaboratively, the Board will ensure the local provision of education, training, apprenticeships, careers advice and vocational training are fit for purpose.
With many major investment projects in the pipeline, such as the proposed HS2 track and station investment in and around Crewe and local road upgrades including the Congleton and Middlewich bypass schemes, the future looks very bright for the sector.
Around 200 businesses associated with the rail sector are based in Cheshire East; around 9 times the UK average.
Employment opportunities are set to increase substantially as the current ageing workforce retires, with major infrastructure projects such as HS2 predicted to create around 25,000 new jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships nationally.
There is also a growing need to upskill the current workforce to keep pace with new technology and design techniques whilst ensuring businesses can remain competitive.
Cllr George Hayes, Chairman of the Skills and Growth Company said: “The rail sector is growing in significance and we want to ensure Cheshire East retains its place at the heart of the rail industry whilst also maximising the opportunities in the other associated sectors such as construction. With so many opportunities for jobs and progression in these industries, it is essential that we equip our young people with the skills and awareness to flourish and sustain future growth”.
James Richards, Network Rail’s Engineering Capability Manager said: “I welcome the launch of this Skills Board; it will enable employers to work more effectively with training providers and policy makers to provide us with the highly skilled workforce we need and contribute to the wider awareness of the sector from schools through to colleges and universities.”