Rail Forum member ISS Labour, part of diversified recruitment group Specialist People Services, has invested in a state-of-the-art training centre in Greater Manchester to support the £25billion investment[1] in the UK’s rail network.

The first of its kind in the north of England, the training centre in Salford sees ISS Labour address the current skills shortage across the rail industry by providing the facilities required to train and develop engineers.

With Network Rail committed to investing £25bn in rail infrastructure between now and 2019, there is a pressing need for highly-qualified linesmen to be trained to deliver electrification projects across the UK to meet rising demand for rail services.

By 2040, the number of miles travelled on Britain’s railways will be double the figure in 2010, according to government projections[2].

ISS Labour’s training hub, which has created five jobs, is expected to train more than 10,000 people by 2020. It strengthens the company’s presence in the North West, where it currently employs 200 people along with 650 across the UK. The company’s Training Manager was recently ‘Highly Commended’ at the 2015 Rail Staff Awards.

Simon Higgens, CEO at ISS Labour, said: “As part of its ongoing investment work to support rising demand for Britain’s rail services, Network Rail is electrifying hundreds of miles of track across the country. Clearly this creates long-term demand for skilled engineers to carry out this specialist work.

“Having established a strong reputation as a supplier of high-quality, contingent labour to the rail industry, we have now successfully extended the range of services we provide. The investment in our new state-of-the-art training centre is part of our focus on serving the Overhead Line Electrification (OLE) needs of the industry. It enables us to upskill our own workforce, meeting the needs of our OLE customers, and also to provide an in-demand training service for external customers working across the industry.”

The training hub – which features a twin-track replica of the West Coast Main Line including flat bottom rail, bullhead rail, third rail, wooden timbers and concrete sleepers – enables ISS Labour to provide training on all aspects of overhead line electrification in a safe and modern indoor environment.

Since its acquisition by Specialist People Services in 2013, ISS Labour has expanded and diversified its business by incorporating overhead line electrification and training into its portfolio.

ISS Labour is a supplier to leading contractors to Network Rail including Babcock Rail, Carillion, AMCO, and Amey Sersa. It has just completed the track lowering works in Box Tunnel near Bath, an integral part of Network Rail’s Great Western Electrification Programme.

The SPS group also includes Driver Hire Nationwide, the leading UK specialist transport and logistics recruiter; driver CPC training provider Driver Hire Training; its eServices division, which offers online people management services such as dh Licence Check; and international arm Driver Hire Australia.

In the year to March 2015, turnover at SPS increased by 30% to £116.5m.

Read more about ISS here http://issuu.com/railmedia/docs/railstaff-november-15/34

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