Home Rail News Developing a skilled workforce

Developing a skilled workforce

London Underground celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

Accounts of its creation, construction and development have offered a fascinating insight into the workings of the world’s first underground railway. The round-the-clock service provided by teams of engineers and rail staff ensures that the network runs smoothly.

Morson International looks at the evolution of the industry’s workforce and its outlook for the future.

‘Morson has been a supplier of rail staff to the industry for over 30 years,’ explains Russell Otter (pictured), London Director at the global recruitment specialist, Morson International.

‘In that time, the UK rail industry has experienced many changes in terms of policy, structure, technology and operations – and developing a skilled workforce under a rapidly evolving and demanding environment has presented several challenges.

Highest calibre

‘The UK has a rich heritage with the oldest rail system in the world, the oldest underground system, and still one of the top 20 largest networks on the planet. From the very beginning the teams of engineers working on these systems were of the highest calibre – and this is true of today’s workforce, too.

‘The day-to-day operations and smooth running of both the overground and underground rail systems is very important. Disruption must be minimised for essential preventative and reactive maintenance and upgrades.

The key to this will always be the people who undertake the work and this means companies face the challenging task of finding individuals with the right experience, qualifications and skills across multiple disciplines and geographical locations.’

A challenge faced by the current generation of recruitment companies is the industry-wide shortage of engineering skills across all sectors in the engineering industry. An ageing workforce of skilled engineers approaching retirement age means that there is an increased demand to attract the next generation of talent.

…the war for talent is at its peak

Says Otter, ‘The rail industry is seen as less seductive than IT and Telecommunications, or less lucrative and exotic than oil and gas, however the workforce demands have been higher, the skills requirements have changed as technology has evolved and the war for talent is at its peak.

‘It is essential that an experienced workforce is retained, and that the contractor population enjoys a rich set of opportunities and projects.

‘Morson has developed the careers of many contractors, some of whom have been with us for many years and have professionally progressed to increasingly senior roles through training and the support of Morson’s experienced recruitment consultants who strive to develop talent against high demand skills for the benefit of both our clients and candidates.’

Flexibility and agility are essential when providing resource to the industry. Despite being the leading technical recruitment company in the UK, Morson is strategically sub-divided to offer real sector experts who get to the root of the industry and build relationships with the talent available in the market place.

Morson is dedicated to solving problems before they happen and works with its partners on a long term hiring strategy.

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