Government pledge to create thousands of highways apprenticeships

21/08/2015
Highways Reporters

The government has pledged to create more than 30,000 apprenticeship places across the road and rail industry during the lifetime of this Parliament.

Speaking on a visit to the National Training Academy for Rail in Northampton the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin (pictured), announced the ambition in a vital boost to the transport industry.

To help deliver this ambition he has announced the appointment of Terry Morgan CBE to develop a transport and infrastructure skills strategy, to help the transport industry ensure a continuous pipeline of skilled workers.

Mr McLoughlin said: “Training our rail and road workforce is essential if we want to build a transport network fit for the future. That is why I have invited Terry Morgan to join us in this vital work.

“As the chairman of Crossrail, and the forthcoming National College for High Speed Rail, Terry has a track record of building skills in the transport sector. He is ideally positioned to work with industry to deliver a transport and infrastructure skills strategy.

“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.”

The skills strategy will set out how government and industry will:


  • Deliver on its ambition for 30,000 apprenticeships in roads and rail over the five years to 2020, working together with supply chain partners


  • Ensure the right mix of apprenticeships are on offer, including many at higher levels with training in new technologies


  • Explore upskilling the existing workforce to meet new challenges


  • Encourage greater diversity in the workforce, including attracting more women into engineering


  • Develop a coordinated national network of transport infrastructure skills colleges to train the transport workers of the future.


This work will sit alongside the government’s National Infrastructure Plan for Skills due to be published soon.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Terry Morgan said: “I’m really pleased to be leading this work. It’s vital that we develop the workforce of the future, ensuring the transport industry has the right people in the right place at the right time, and crucially with the right skills, to deliver this unprecedented programme of infrastructure work. I’m very much looking forward to working with colleagues across the road and rail industry, and to leaving a legacy of skills for the future.”

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan commented: “In order to triple the amount of investment going into England’s motorways and major A roads on an annual basis, from some £1.5 to over £4 billion, we’re going to need more industry specific skills available to us and within our business.

“The certainty of capital funding over five years that comes with becoming a government-owned company gives us and our supply chain the confidence to invest in people — attracting, retaining and developing capable people to deliver our expanding programme of work. An important part of this is the creation of apprenticeship opportunities across all disciplines so that we are building and maintaining a pipeline of talent into the sector.”
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