Jobs taskforce launched to boost apprenticeships

The Department for Transport has launched a Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (STAT) as part of a strategy to triple the number of apprenticeships in the transport sector by 2020.

The STAT will be employer-led and met for the first time on 15 April to share best practice and discuss priorities for the group.

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad said: “I have seen for myself the enthusiasm in young people for planes, trains and automobiles, and I am determined that the government’s record investment in transport helps transform childhood fascinations into lifelong careers.  “Transport these days is about computers in laboratories as much as cranes in landfill sites.  That is why STAT will help inspire and enable people from all walks of life to choose transport, and ensure we have the diverse and skilled workforce we need to deliver our ambitious agenda.”

The government wants to create 30,000 new transport apprenticeships within the next four years and to widen diversity in the workforce. Simon Kirby, who started his career as a British Rail apprentice, has been appointed STAT chairman.

“I used my apprenticeship as a springboard for my career,” said Kirby. “It also equipped me with invaluable people skills that I’ve used in all aspects of my job.

“It is vital that we also inspire people from all different backgrounds to become an apprentice so that we can create a diverse workforce capable of delivering the unprecedented number of transport projects currently in the pipeline.”

The taskforce will be encouraging people to switch into the sector in mid-career changers and attract back people who have left the transport industry.

The Department for Transport (DfT) committed to the taskforce in its Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy, which was published in January 2016.

The STAT Board membership includes:

• David Poole, Commercial and Procurement Director, Highways England

• Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director, Network Rail

• Beth West, Commercial Director, HS2

• Valerie Todd, Talent and Resources Director, Crossrail

• George McInulty, Programme Director for Infrastructure, TfL

• Paul Plummer, Chief Executive, Rail Delivery Group

• Kevin Rowan, Head of Organisation and Services, TUC

• Catherine De Marco, Deputy Director for Infrastructure Skills, DfT

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