Future contracts for major government transport infrastructure projects will include targets for the creation of new apprenticeships.
The Department for Transport’s (DfT) transport skills strategy sets out how the Government will meet its pledge to create 30,000 apprenticeships in the road and rail sector by 2020.
Minding the skills gap: Govt boost to apprenticeships
The Dft says agreement has been reached with Network Rail, Highways England, HS2 Ltd, Transport for London and Crossrail for what it calls a ‘stretching target’ for new female entrants to engineering and technical apprenticeships, either directly hired by those employers or by their suppliers.
It says this will deliver an increase in the number of women employed in the transport sector, which ‘should be in line with the proportion of women in work by 2030’.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin appointed Crossrail chair Terry Morgan CBE last August to develop the skills strategy.
Mr Morgan said: ‘To create a workforce capable of delivering the unprecedented number of transport projects in the pipeline it is vital we increase the number of apprentices and attract more women into the industry.
'This skills strategy is a huge step in the right direction, but all of us, from parents and teachers to chief executives and industry leaders have a role to play to help the next generation grab the exciting opportunities on offer.’
Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: ‘We are pleased to support the DfT transport skills strategy and growing talent for our sector will play a vital part in shaping the future of our road network. We need to be more ambitious in our recruitment and training if we are going to attract and retain the skills required to build a diverse workforce that is capable of delivering this huge amount of work.’
On Monday the Rail Supply Group (RSG), which represents the supply chain in the UK rail industry, launched its strategy ‘to build growth in the UK rail industry and support exports’.
The strategy includes the RSG’s plan to implement its ‘Productivity Pledge’, which commits the rail supply sector to a number of objectives, including ‘a coherent skills plan to attract the best talent and increase productivity’.
Mr McLoughlin said: ‘Rail Supply Group’s focus on developing a skilled rail workforce is very welcome. Our priority is to attract the nation’s talent to the industry and to equip them with the skills to deliver on our commitment to build a world class transport infrastructure system.’