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Future of Rail Must Be Our Skills Future - Cortes

25 February 2019

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has called for technological advances in the railways to have humans at the centre of transition.

Speaking ahead of a special TSSA one-day Conference on the Future of Rail next month Cortes said: “I’m excited that our union is looking to the future and to new skills in this positive way.

“I believe the future of rail must retain a large human element to it and we need to be involved in the technological transition, whatever that may be.

“We will be hearing from industry specialists and re-skilling experts because how the railways operate in the future is of fundamental importance.

“This will we be an opportunity to lay out exactly why we need employers and training organisations to work with our union to plan the future with as much input from our members as possible.”

Leading industry figures on re-skilling are backing the TSSA event.

Michelle Nolan-McSweeney, Network Rail's Head of Training said:

“Skills should be at the forefront of our strategic planning for a digital railway, particularly at such a crucial point in the history of the railways.

“It’s for employers to offer opportunities for its employees, through new skills, upskilling and reskilling, but it also requires employees to be open to training and willing to self-direct their learning.

The railways are full of talented people; we need to retain skills and develop new ones, so everyone is able to perform at their best.”

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail added:

"At times like this, it’s important to take stock of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. We also have a widely reported national skills shortage which threatens to hinder the sector’s growth and productivity. We know there is an ageing workforce and we know that diversity and inclusion within the workforce needs to be improved.

“Attracting the best talent to deliver major national infrastructure means not only getting behind projects like HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and Crossrail 2, but also making a firm commitment to apprenticeships and upskilling the existing workforce.!

TSSA Future of Rail Conference Radisson will be held Thursday 7th March at the Radisson Blu hotel, Great Russell St, London.

Speakers include:

David Waboso, Network Rail

Rachael Maskell MP, Shadow Rail Minister

Martin Abrams, passenger representative, ABC

TC Chew, Arup Foresight

Neil Robertson, NSAR

Kevin Rowan, TUC

Manuel Cortes, TSSA

The event will focus on the technological and operational changes that are taking place in the rail industry as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


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