The Rail Sector Deal was launched on 6 December 2018.

RFM are seeking employer views to help inform our work on the sector deal. We need your support and input to ensure that what we are doing is what the supply chain actually needs – we would be really grateful if you could take just a few minutes to complete the questionnaire below.

Sector Deal Questionnaire


The information below provides some background to the sector deal and ur Midlands based pilots.

What is the Rail Sector Deal?

Sector Deals form part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy; they are broad agreements between an industry and government setting out a partnership approach to creating opportunities to boost productivity, employment, innovation and skills in key sectors of the economy. The Rail Supply Group (RSG), in partnership with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has worked with Government to develop an industry led proposal and the Rail Sector Deal was published in December 2018.

The Rail Sector Deal focusses efforts across 4 workstreams (pillars)

  • Transformation through digitalisation;
  • Pioneering intelligent mobility;
  • Delivering a sustainable UK rail sector;
  • Export and inward investment.

To support and deliver these pillars four separate enabling programmes have been established.

  • Productivity;
  • Skills and people;
  • SME Growth through collaboration – Midlands Based Pilot Programme;
  • Shared apprenticeships & schools engagement – Midlands Based Pilot Programme.

The various programmes and pilots will run for 3 years.  They are led by Industry, Client and Government Champions with delivery activity largely undertaken by Industry representative bodies, including Rail Forum Midlands, Railway Industry Association, the Digital Railway Board, Rail Delivery Group, and National Skills Academy for Rail. Overall responsibility for delivery of the Sector Deal lies with the RSG Council. There is no specific additional funding from government to deliver these programmes  – it is down to industry to fund the work required.

Rail Forum Midlands will deliver the two Midlands based pilot programmes; SME growth through collaboration and shared apprenticeships and schools engagement.

The Midlands Pilots

Our Industry Champion is Anna Ince, CEO of Resonate Group. Anna established a Steering Group in April 2019 to oversee our work with the following representatives confirmed:

Catherine De Marco, DfT            Robert Vaughan, DfT       

James Brewer, BEIS                     Michelle Craven-Faulkner, Vice Chair RFM     

Andy Scott,  Network Rail          Phil Hufton, Bombardier                                                              

Mary Grant, Porterbrook            Warren Manning, University of Derby

Joseph Infante, CPC Project Services and RSG SME Lead                                     

A representative from a train operating company is likely to be added in the next few weeks.

Delivery of the pilots is being led by RFM and we have two key people supporting us:

Marie Orchard, NSAR is supporting the Shared Apprenticeship pilot and

Richard Carr is supporting the SME Growth pilot.

We are accountable to the RSG Council for delivery and we have secured a small amount of ring fenced funding to help us move the projects forward.

SME Growth Through Collaboration

This pilot programme will seek to break down some of the frequently raised issues and barriers that SMEs face on a regular basis; including the challenge of understanding what clients actually want and need when it comes to innovation, competing against foreign imports, breaking into global supply chains and securing their intellectual property to name a few.

The pilots will work with willing clients to identify real opportunities for import substitution, new or improved product requirements etc. and then bring together enthusiasticSMEs to collaborate to respond  to these opportunities. We are keen to engage with all SMEs that are interested in our work – you don’t have to be Midlands based to be kept informed or get involved.

 Shared Apprenticeships and Schools Engagement

This pilot includes two distinct pieces of work:

  • As an industry we need to recruit and train more apprentices. Our pilot will identify the barriers that SMEs face in recruitment and training and will seek to put in place different business models that facilitate SMEs to get involved with apprenticeships. We will identify training programmes where collaboration could work and seek proactive good quality training providers – Further Education Colleges, Universities and the private sector – to help deliver these. We are starting this work in 2019 in the East Midlands and will expand across the rest of the region as resources allow.
  • Across the region there are numerous schools engagement activities that the industry supports. These include rail specific programmes offered by individual and collaborative groups of employers, generic technology and maths activities, broader support to schools via mentoring or CV workshops and local initiatives. Schools are often bombarded by a plethora of employer ‘offers’ or ignored all together; perhaps because of their location or because employers are focussed on a different age group. Our pilot will map the various activities across the Midlands and develop a more holistic and co-ordinated approach for rail identifying and plugging gaps where appropriate and avoiding duplication.

How Do I Stay Informed / Get Involved?

We are keen to keep employers and especially SMEs informed of our activities and plans. There will be regular, probably monthly, updates on this page of our website.

In addition if you would like to be added to our mailing list for updates or would like to volunteer to get more actively involved please contact


Context and Background to the Sector Deal

In January 2017 the UK government launched a wide ranging consultation exercise about the future Industrial Strategy for the UK. The Rail Forum responded to the Industrial Strategy green paper, seeking views from members and then feeding back a formal response to the consultation.

RFM Response to Industrial Strategy Consultation Paper April 2017_final

The Industrial Strategy green paper proposed the establishment of so called ‘sector deals’ for those industries that have significant growth potential and/or strategic value to the UK and where there is sufficient interest on the part of an industry to work collaboratively with government. Over the summer of 2017 the rail industry came together under the leadership of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and Rail Supply Group (RSG)  to develop proposals for a rail sector deal and in October 2017 an initial sector deal proposal document was submitted to government. We made a significant contribution to this work on behalf of our members.

Government announced its overall Industrial Strategy on 27th November 2017. The rail industry was encouraged to develop the initial proposals further and detailed proposals for a sector deal were submitted in October 2018.

You can also see the One Railway video produced to support the rail sector deal submission here:

Rail Sector Deal Video