RFEM’s ‘People and Skills’ workstream supports the local delivery of the national Rail Sector Skills Delivery Plan. We have 3 key areas of focus:
- Encouraging young people to consider a career in rail
- Encouraging employers to support the recruitment of more apprentices and graduates
- Facilitating employer access to ‘mature’ talent e.g. people leaving the armed forces
Encouraging People to Consider Rail as a Career
In previous years a number of companies have undertaken some form of education outreach activity e.g. visits to schools to talk about rail, hosting site visits and so on. This activity has, in the main, been fragmented and reactive. Working with members, RFEM has developed a co-ordinated plan of education outreach activity for 2017 including schools, colleges and universities. A number of member companies have volunteered or ‘pledged’ between 1 and 30 days of support to help deliver this programme. Larger companies will continue to run their own schools programmes but with linkage to the RFEM programme. All member companies are welcome to get involved by pledging support. Not only is this important to help raise our profile as an industry it is also good business sense as it is helping secure our future talent. In addition, clients now expect their suppliers to be involved in some form of education activity and by getting involved with our programme member’s can genuinely claim to be working collaboratively to deliver a significant outreach programme.
So far the following companies have collectively pledged well over 100 days and a number of additional companies are expected to join the scheme shortly:
Atkins Bridgeway Consulting CoMech Metrology
EliteKL East Midlands Trains HS2
ISS Labour Porterbrook Leasing Resonate
Ricardo Signal House Group SNC Lavalin
Structural Fabrications Tarmac Train FX
Apprenticeships in England are changing – both the content / way apprenticeships are delivered and the funding arrangements. New ‘Apprenticeship Standards’ are being introduced, developed by groups of employers, these new standards are designed to deliver more appropriate skills and knowledge required by today’s workforce. A number of new standards are available that might be relevant to members; from rail engineering and manufacturing to professional support services and management. From April, larger companies will have to pay an apprenticeship levy (based on a % of their pay bill) whilst smaller companies may be eligible to claim more funding support than previously. RFEM has a number of relationships with colleges and universities to support our members find the right apprenticeships; including higher level and degree/graduate apprenticeships.
RFEM has been working closely with Derby College to establish a Rail Skills and Employment Academy. The academy brings together a number of employers to oversee the curriculum delivered both for apprentices and fulltime students interested in rail and that might be interested in an apprenticeship in the future. If you want to discuss apprenticeships or funding we are happy to help. There are also a number of new services available via the National Skills Academy Rail (NSAR) including an apprenticeship levy calculator and an apprentice/graduate matching service ‘NSAR-Connect’ that we can help signpost you to.
Access to Mature Talent
Late in 2016 RFEM organised a ‘Careers in Rail Day’ in conjunction with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP). CTP exists to help armed forces leavers make the transition to civilian life. This was a hugely successful event attended by 20 member companies and attracting well over 100 delegates from across all ranks and services. Delegates heard first hand about jobs in the industry from people who had made the transition previously they then had ample time to meet and network with prospective employers. RFEM will look to offer similar events in future for our members.