Transport investments to boost apprenticeship opportunities

Major investment commitments recently made to UK road, rail and technology infrastructure are anticipated to spur up to 35,000 new apprenticeship opportunities over the next five years, according to a new report by the Department for Transport, Transport infrastructure skills strategy: one year on released on 12 July.

With the looming skills gap, and potential magnifications of this due to Brexit, government transport investment plans have included skills strategy, with skills as a requirement within all relevant invitations to tender from April 2016.

The report examines the progress made to support the various skills strategies, showcasing the instances in which government and external bodies are working together to not only meet the demands of ongoing major projects as well as foster future skills.

John Hayes, transport minister, said: "Making our transport infrastructure the best in the world will build business and change lives for the better. Just as putting apprenticeships at the heart of this investment will seed opportunities for thousands of people. This government is taking the big transport decisions for Britain’s future like HS2 and Heathrow, delivering the biggest investment in roads and rail for a generation and equipping individuals and businesses with the skills they need to make all this happen. Better journeys creating jobs, driving investment, nurturing the common good and serving the national interest.”

The report does not just look at the quantity of skills development opportunities such as apprenticeships but also looks at the quality of these opportunities, from the level of skills that will result to improved diversity as well as improved staff retention.

With higher level skills needed for project completion, to deal with challenges such as cyber security and full digital integration into transport systems, the report stresses the need to combine government investment initiatives not only with industry efforts but also with efforts being made by the education sector as well as following employment quality standards such as Investors in People.

Another important factor impacting skills covered in the report is the current as well as projected location of where these skills and jobs will be needed. In order not to foster an over-skilling or skills suck in a particular area, this report helps to identify the movement of skills throughout the United Kingdom in the hope that skills, once created, can be carried on to further projects.

Given the variety of investments being made in transport infrastructure, the report illustrates that this is an unpassable opportunity to create UK skills, helping to prepare the industry for the many challenges ahead.

Read Transport infrastructure skills strategy: one year on.