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New taskforce to boost transport skills

Apprentices, Transport for London

A new government taskforce has been launched to address the skills shortages in the transport sector through apprenticeships.

The industry-led body, called the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (STAT), includes bosses from High Speed 2 (HS2), Crossrail, Highways England, Network Rail and Transport for London (TfL). The government set out its plans for STAT in its transport infrastructure skills strategy, published in January and spearheaded by Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan.

The taskforce’s role will include ensuring good quality training for new entrants and existing workers, as well as promoting careers in the sector to young people and career changers and returners. Its first meeting takes place today.

The taskforce’s board includes:

  • David Poole, commercial and procurement director, Highways England
  • Rob McIntosh, route managing director, Network Rail
  • Beth West, commercial director, HS2 Ltd
  • Valerie Todd, talent and resources director, Crossrail
  • George McInulty, programme director for infrastructure, TfL
  • Paul Plummer, chief executive, Rail Delivery Group
  • Kevin Rowan, head of organisation and services, TUC
  • Catherine De Marco, deputy director for infrastructure skills, DfT

The government has previously said it wants to create 30,000 apprenticeships in transport – treble the current amount –by 2020.

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad said: “I have seen for myself the enthusiasm in young people for planes, trains and automobiles, and I am determined that the government’s record investment in transport helps transform childhood fascinations into lifelong careers.

“Transport these days is about computers in laboratories as much as cranes in landfill sites. That is why STAT will help inspire and enable people from all walks of life to choose transport, and ensure we have the diverse and skilled workforce we need to deliver our ambitious agenda.”

The chair of STAT will be HS2 Ltd chief executive and former British Rail apprentice Simon Kirby. He said: “Being an apprentice was a great opportunity for me to pursue a vocational education and gain experience in the workplace, whilst learning at the same time. I used my apprenticeship as a springboard for my career. It also equipped me with invaluable people skills that I’ve used in all aspects of my job.

“I am therefore delighted to be appointed as the chair of STAT, which will support the government’s ambition to treble the number of apprenticeships in the transport sector by 2020. Employers should see taking on an apprentice as an opportunity to develop skills within their business and this in turn can help young people to develop long and successful careers within their chosen sector.

“It is vital that we also inspire people from all different backgrounds to become an apprentice so that we can create a diverse workforce capable of delivering the unprecedented number of transport projects currently in the pipeline.”



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