Rail Academy helps secure the future of rail engineering in north east

Rail Academy helps secure the future of rail engineering in north east

Posted On 19th March 2014 By Nichola Taylor

Newcastle College is helping to secure the future of rail engineering in the North East by investing millions in a world-class training facility based in Gateshead.

The Rail Academy is the first of its kind in the North East. It will be a regional hub for railway engineering – a major sector of growth and a priority area of investment for Government.

The Academy has been designed to respond to the Government’s ambitious plans to create a ‘truly world-class rail network’ by pledging to make what it describes as ‘the biggest investment in rail infrastructure for the last 150 years. These plans include £5.2bn of previously unveiled projects and new schemes totalling £4.2bn for Electrification and Plant, which are due to be delivered between 2014-2019.

Developed with support from the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE) and Network Rail, the Rail Academy will create life-changing opportunities for local people by offering them the skills and training that will be essential to employers in this fast growing industry sector over the next 20 to 30 years.

The Academy will serve all age groups, including young people looking to develop a career in the rail sector, those wanting to change career and employers who need to up skill or cross skill their existing work force or simply recruit for future growth.

Located near to Heworth Metro station, the Rail Academy is due to open in September 2014. The facility has been designed by Newcastle-based Ryder Architecture and will feature state-of-the-art training rooms and workshops as well as industry standard equipment, such as track and junction boxes.

Robin Ghurbhurun, Deputy Principal at Newcastle College said: “There are incredible changes taking place in the rail sector and our investment in the Rail Academy will help to put the region on the map in terms of world-class training and skills for the railway engineering sector. The Government has committed to spending billions to upgrade the rail network in the next 20 to 30 years creating thousands of job opportunities, so it is critical that the industry has access to the very best training and higher level skills.

“Our investment in the Rail Academy is very exciting and will support the Government with its plans to bring rail into the 21st Century. We have worked with a number of partners to establish what the likely demand for skills support would be to support this infrastructure, not only in the North East but nationally. As a result of this, Newcastle College and its parent company, NCG have made a significant commitment in what we believe to be a fantastic development for Gateshead and a centre of excellence for rail engineering across the country. It will be a hub for the North East and a first for the region in terms of rail engineering.

“The Rail Academy will be a gateway to employment and skills, not a destination for courses. It is a demonstration of our continued intention to invest in world-class training and facilities that support the STEM agenda and emerging industry sectors where we believe that there are opportunities for employment. By working in close partnership with employers and industry partners, we will form part of the supply chain that enables these industries to grow and prosper and provide more opportunities for local people. This is our commitment today and will continue to be our commitment to the future prosperity of the region.”

NSARE’s Chief Executive, Gil Howarth, said “NSARE is proud to support this excellent initiative which will provide a centre of excellence for railway engineering training in the North East. It is vital that we attract young people into our buoyant industry - we need a highly competent workforce to support record levels of investment.”

The Rail Academy is ideally situated near to the Sunderland/Newcastle rail link and the Nexus Metro lines. The facility is conveniently located within easy walking distance from Heworth metro station and the bus interchange and is approximately 15 minutes away from major motorway road links. There are a number of heritage rail sites in close proximity to the site which would provide ideal opportunities for students to gain valuable experience on live track.

Visit www.newcastlecollege.co.uk/railacademy, email rail@ncl-coll.ac.uk or call 0191 200 4679.