The National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) is backing the Rail Trainer of the Year Award.
Ever-growing demand for more and better qualified railway staff at all levels has led to an increased interest in the award this year.
NTAR, strategically placed near the Siemens Kings Heath depot, within sight of the Northampton loop, is the result of a significant investment by the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE) and Siemens. Both contributed half of the £7 million start-up cost. Through the partnership, half of the centre’s training capacity will be earmarked for Siemens and half will be released to the wider industry.
Says Tom O’Connor, managing director, Rail Media, ‘The hard work that has gone into the new National Training Academy for Rail at Northampton is inspirational. The rail industry needs more skilled staff and the NTAR will be addressing this with vigour.’
Focussing initially on addressing the need for traction and rolling stock (T&RS) skills, the facility includes classrooms, a large workshop and high tech ERTMS and virtual reality labs.
NTAR has been set up to help plug the skills gap and act as a national hub for rail engineering excellence in traction and rolling stock. With the first intake of students expected soon, the academy will help train rail professionals from across the industry.
‘We wish the instructors, staff and students well in the new venture which I am confident will expand to include campuses around the network,’ says Tom.
‘It is hugely appropriate that NTAR is supporting this award. Railway trainers are the backbone of the industry. It is not only new recruits that need training. We are now adapting men and women with other skill sets to enable them to contribute to the railway. Equally importantly current staff – from track workers to engineers and train crew to ticketing staff – need to refresh and expand professional knowledge as technology changes.