Training and education are the sure fire ways to success, not only for individuals entering the rail industry but for the railways as a whole.
This spring sees a tremendous boost across the whole field of railway training. Even the Prince of Wales has taken part, learning how to drive a tube train under the capable tutelage of Rag Gahonia, a test driver at Bombardier.
The recession and continuing uncertainty in Europe has made getting work difficult for many young people and running a business challenging for entrepreneurs. However, the rail industry offers a bold, bright hope for us all this spring.
Railways continue to boom
Nara Pina, 21, from Goodmayes speaks for many when she says ‘2011 was a hard year, but everything came together in the end.’ Contemporary Britain looks broke with its boarded up pubs, houses for sale, shops and firms closing down but railways continue to boom with increased ridership and more freight. An urgent bid to catch up by building new railways is gathering pace.
For its part the rail industry is issuing increasingly strident calls for more trainees, students and apprentices. The skills gap could prove a real constraint as more major projects come online.
Crossrail, High Speed Two, new tram ways and stations need a huge new army of engineers and designers to deliver them. Moreover the industry has need of new signallers, drivers and track workers to build and crew the new services.
This industry is a good place to be. Stability and job security are as important as pay and conditions. The railway’s core strength remains the professionalism and dedication of rail staff, new and old. No one should underestimate the enormous efforts being made by railway staff studying, re-training and learning the talismanic arts necessary to sustain the new railway.
‘I was accepted into college studying civil engineering and started this job as a trainee engineer,’ says Nara who is at Crossrail’s Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy.
She goes on, ‘Everything you want in life is hard. When you want something you just have to pursue it otherwise there is no point in having dreams.’
Many of us would have benefited from similar wisdom at the age of 21.
We wish Nara and all those working, studying and training in railways every success this spring and in what we hope will prove long and fruitful careers.