Home: June - July 2008 › Employer-led training and education
Employer-led training and education
01/07/2008 | Channel:
Skills & Training
Changes are afoot in the training and education arena following the proposed streamlining of Government funding to ensure that this follows the needs of employers and learners by 2010.
This will mean that employers will have more involvement and say in what is provided, how and where, and that training providers, particularly further education colleges, will need to be more responsive and flexible to their needs. Not a problem for York College and its specialist rail facility, the Yorkshire RailAcademy, who already work closely with employers and industry, and have a high reputation for delivering quality and cost effective solutions.
Boasting a new £60 million state-of-theart facility at York College, equipped with all the latest technology, and a £2.5 million investment in a bespoke training and education centre at the Yorkshire Rail Academy (YRA) there is the capability, expertise and the resources to provide rail employers with a ‘one stop shop’ for employee development and education. The YRA facilities, which are all available for hire, includes five training and meeting rooms, an excellent ICT suite with 20 workstations having CD ROM and internet facilities, and a split-level engineering laboratory with 16 bench workstations giving access to both electrical and electronic testing equipment. On the mezzanine floor there is an additional ICT facility with engineering software preloaded including CAD. The range of training it can offer covers not only rail specific skills development but also general health and safety, engineering, construction, supervision and management, information technology, customer services and business administration, and much more. The Yorkshire Rail Academy aims play a key role in the national rail training network in developing the skills required for today and in the future. With the range of facilities and expertise in education and training it has to offer it is well placed to do just that.
Following the recent launch of its integrated rail infrastructure facility, designed specifically to serve the needs of the rail industry, the YRA is able to offer a safe and realistic environment which can simulate real track and signalling operations and has access to the mainline and rail network. The facility consists of 60m of track, including a third rail, and a 22m crossover which has both Mk 2 Clamp Locks with a four-foot back-drives and a HW point machine. The signalling includes both AWS and TPWS equipment, two and three aspect signalling, and both ground and post-mounted signalling. One signal even has fibre-optic theatre route indicator and a stencil fibreoptic miniature indicator. Track circuiting includes both standard and low voltage DC as well as AC and T121. It also has a large REB housing a mosaic signalling control panel, three power locations, two signal locations and a T121 track circuit with a conventional free-wired signalling incorporating a range of relays. Says Anne Ingham, rail CoVE manager at the YRA: “This new resource is a dedicated facility for the rail industry and a welcome addition to the full range of training facilities and resources that already exist at the YRA, all of which are available for hire. It will appeal to a wide range of rail companies, including engineering contractors and consultants, train operators, rail suppliers and manufacturers.”
York College is a major centre for a full range of both educational and vocational qualifications, and experienced in linking these to rail industry standards through the YRA. An added bonus to rail employers is the access it can provide to funded or partfunded training, as well as its full cost provision. The YRA is able to deliver the full range of NVQs for rail engineering and rail transport operations, all of which can be fully funded thorough the government ‘Train to Gain’ initiative, an opportunity that rail employers may well be missing out on. Train to Gain funding is available to support any employee in achieving their first level 2 qualification, or level 3 if they do not already hold one at level 2. Apprenticeships have long been the backbone of the rail industry in terms of engineering, and, despite the lull following privatisation, have a new found popularity amongst rail employers. Apprenticeships are designed for the 16 to 24 year age group, are delivered primarily in the workplace and enable employers to ‘grow their own’ skilled workforce. The YRA currently delivers the full range of rail engineering apprenticeships not only in York but also in other regions. Both NVQs and apprenticeships are integral to the overarching government strategy to develop ‘world class’ skills across industry and to meet its’ target for at least 90 per cent of the adult population to hold as a minimum a full level 2 qualification (five GCSEs at Grade C+ or vocational equivalent) by the year 2010.
For further information, please contact Anne Ingham:
Yorkshire Rail Academy
Tel: 01904 770 780