UKTram is set to play a key role in the development of specialised training programmes for the next generation of light rail engineers.
The organisation has been invited to join a ‘trailblazer’ review of engineering apprenticeships that aims to ensure future schemes meet the specific needs of the sector.
Representatives from heavy and high-speed rail, as well as light rail, recently met online to look at the development of Rail Engineering Operative Level 2 and Rail Engineering Technician Level 3 Apprenticeships.
UKTram Engineering Manager, Craig O’Brien, said it marked an important step towards closing a growing skills gap.
“Many UKTram members have experienced difficulty recruiting enough engineers with the specialist skills required to maintain our modern light rail systems,” he explained.
“This review is bringing together experts from across the transport sector to look at existing apprenticeship schemes with a view to developing new training programmes tailored to the specific needs of different modes of transport.”
“It will also look at the changing landscape faced by engineers working across the sector, including the impact of Covid-19, and how training and assessments can be carried out in the future.”
Future apprenticeship programmes will also need to look at increasing diversity to attract more women and people from BAME communities, and other issues highlighted by the review such as the need to include non-technical skills like communication and team working.
The development of pathways within apprenticeships to encourage mobility between heavy, high-speed and light rail is also a key priority.
“This latest initiative builds on work being done elsewhere within the light rail sector to address the skills gap, including the development of a Tramway Construction apprenticeship developed in the West Midlands to support the expansion of the Metro,” Craig added.