The Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (STAT) has set out a report to determine the future workforce necessary to deliver the country’s significant road and rail infrastructure projects successfully.
STAT was set up by the Department for Transport (DfT) to deliver the Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy, which is now two years old and is exceeding expectations on the delivery of apprenticeships in both road and rail; with the third Heathrow runway on the horizon, this will increase the need for apprentices to fill the skills shortage.
The skills forecasting baseline study sets out the data that demonstrates the need for “far more talent in our industry,” according to Mike Brown, Commissioner, Transport for London and Chair of STAT and NSAR.
He believes the report should be a “call to action” for employers, and “particularly those in our shared rail and roads supply chains, where the vast majority of the transport workforce sits.
“By working together, we can create the high quality training opportunities we need to attract and retain future talent.
“This is important as we consider collectively how we can respond to the need, set out in this report, for increasing skills requirements for new employees, as well as further development and training for existing staff.”
The report from STAT has, unsurprisingly, found roads and rail need more people in the future – for reasons including the increase in investment across these sectors, as well as part of the workforce approaching retirement.
Rail is due to lose 50,000 people by 2033 due to retirement, felt more acutely at operative level in the investment workforce.
For the road sector, an additional 25,000 people will be needed by 2025, and another 16,000 to replace the people who are due to retire – this is 25% more people than are currently working on investment projects.
The study reveals that demand for skills in the rail and road sectors is increasing over time – without action, shortages and gaps of skills will endure.
As such, apprenticeships are one of the best ways to achieve a skilled workforce, and with more, higher level and commercial skills required, by training apprentices, it should result in a better understanding of the market.