Mind the (Skills) Gap: Do You Have the Transferable Engineering Skills to Work in Rail?

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by Rebekah Valero-Lee on


Due to the delivery timelines of several major infrastructure projects in the UK, including Hinkley, HS2 and highways we face the reality of a severe skills shortage. There are simply not enough qualified workers readily available to fulfil these projects. Across the rail sector alone there is HS2, Crossrail and Thameslink competing for technical, engineering and manufacturing talent. Whilst it’s an exciting time to be working in rail with confidence in the sector at its highest, filling these jobs is becoming progressively harder – many skilled workers are already employed on these projects with 24,000 people required at HS2’s peak in the mid-2020s. It means that we have to look to alternative ways to deliver the major design and construction task at hand. One solution is to look to candidates with transferable engineering skills who can use their experience and qualifications to move fluidly between sectors and jobs.

Upskilling and Apprenticeships

At our recent HS2 skills roundtable, top businesses in the rail industry stressed the importance of breaking down perceptions that apprenticeships are just for young people straight out of school. In fact, training providers are actively raising awareness of training opportunities available to people who have been in established careers. Career paths are more fluid than ever, as a candidate don’t feel bound by sector, job role or even industry, with abundant training opportunities you have the transferable engineering skills required.

Our training division Morson Vital Training, delivers professional training programmes for people working in the rail industry and is the only rail trainer in the UK to have been awarded platinum in a recent quality assurance visit by the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR). MVT are committed to encouraging people looking for a career transition as well as young people into rail careers.


Transferable engineering skills can be readily identified across sectors. Aerospace and defence, nuclear and construction talent should consider rail as a relevant next step. Many of the skills these people have are transferable to the rail industry, including communication, planning and decision making.

The ex-forces community holds a huge pool of skilled workers who have the potential to develop within the rail sector with industry specific training. For those with an engineering background, there are roles in maintenance, asset information, track, construction, civil engineering or signalling, power and communication. Alternatively, roles such as finance, legal or HR offer a worthwhile career in the many support functions.

Morson Vital Training (MVT), has also developed an innovative programme to help ex-service personnel into work, while enabling the rail sector to benefit from their transferable skills. By working closely with the Regular Forces Employment Agency (RFEA) and Walking With The Wounded to design the programme and recruit suitable candidates, the new course is fully-accredited and forms an important part of our future skilling and diversity strategies, with the armed services training expected to increase the number of female apprentices they recruit.

The Digital Railway Brings New Opportunities

An engineer’s role is constantly changing. New technology and software has developed niche skill sets that we wouldn’t have needed 10 years ago, like BIM for example. Now a Government requirement for public sector projects, BIM has progressed from a ‘nice to have’ to a delivery priority. If you are BIM qualified, whatever your sector, there are many opportunities available within rail as there is a particular shortage of people with a deep understanding of how to manage data.

The digital railway which is to drive the digitalisation of the rail industry will also bring with it a requirement for people with specialist software skills as engineering and technology converge. Those who work in IT will see opportunities open up across sectors as intelligent infrastructure is implemented and developed.

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Where can you use your transferable engineering skills? 


Transferable engineering skills will be essential to deliver HS2. In February last year, the parliamentary bill for the first phase of HS2, received Royal Assent. HS2 is a high-speed railway that will run from London to Leeds and Manchester in a Y-shape from 2033. There are high expectations for this project, with Chris Grayling (Transport Secretary in 2016) saying “HS2 will be the world’s most advanced passenger railway and the backbone of our rail network”.

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From improving journey times across London, to easing congestion and offering better connections, the Elizabeth line will provide easier, quicker and more direct travel opportunities across the capital. Currently, the Crossrail programme is 80 per cent complete and is being delivered on time and within budget.

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The Thameslink Programme is a major £5.5 billion scheme to extend the service to a further 100 stations and to greatly increase capacity on the central London section to accommodate more frequent and longer trains. The project is scheduled for completion in 2019.

With the rail industry continuing to push the boundaries and innovate, whilst offering an incredibly rewarding career, it makes prospects within the industry more exciting than they’ve been for generations. Search all rail jobs

Cx Jobs

Production Operatives

Production Operative Location: Hilsea PortsmouthDuration: 3 month Review - then Ongoing Contract/possibly permanentShift/Hours 37 hours per week - split over 9 Days (5 days one week 4 the next (every other Friday off))7.30am to 4.15pm. PLUS OVERTIMERates: £9.79 * any overtime in first 12 weeks paid at £9.79 -( After 12 weeks if probation passed rate increases to £10.20 per hour with weekday overtime paid at £14.28 instead of flat day rate)ROLE PROFILEMorson are exclusively recruiting for experienced factory operatives working in a manufacturing environment. This role is based in Hilsea Portsmouth. This will be to make and assemble fuel tanks/ floatations for aircraft and helicopters, working weekdays - Ideally the suitable candidate will have factory/manufacturing experience in a fast paced working environment. If the role is of interest please apply. If you would like to learn more about the role please contact Matt Crook on 0161 707 1516/

Business Development Director

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR - Remote based from UK or Western Europe Morson Talent are recruiting on behalf of a global provider of risk management products and services. Our client host a number of customers within the telecommunications arena and led to the creation of the following vacancy: Business Development Director JOB PURPOSE Reporting to the Director of Repair and Service Supply Chain, you will secure new business in the Reverse Logistics, Supply Chain Market and to Develop new client base for Supply Chain Europe with a focus on, MNO, MVNO, OEM'S and Retail. RESPONSIBILITIES * Lead and direct our strategy creation to realise Supply Chain vision and create sustainable customer, client and value. * Enhance organisational capability to build and protect value, ensuring shareholder return is maximised. * Establish investment criteria and the strategic change narrative. * Establish business excellence and quality standards that establish market "norms and benchmarks". * Ensure lawful, regulatory & ethical integrity of business. * Build the responsibilities of a company director according to the lawful and ethical standards, as referenced in the Directors and Managers Statement of Corporate Responsibility and the Business Ethics Policy. * Determine the Supply Chain strategic direction and ensure execution of all plans for the Reverse Logistics sector, clients and next field prospects. * Develop the 3 year Supply Chain strategic business development plan for the identified market. * Ensure commercial and organisational approval of all new contracts ensuring compliance with international regulations. * Develop the European Supply Chain product development strategy to improve market position and bring competitive advantage, linked to Global Supply Chain Strategy. * Review and assess product development based on commercial appeal and fit for Supply Chain and its clients. * Insight and monitoring of the market landscape to ensure our client is well placed to take advantage of the latest trends through it's new product offerings * Develop the strategy to maximise overall value from existing clients and prospects, focusing on long-term relationships and sustainability of earnings. * Develop the reputation of our clients Device Care in the market as a strategic partner to it's clients and a thought expert in the Reverse Logistics sector. * Guide client advocacy through the capability of the business development function. QUALIFICATIONS * Experience as Business Development Director or other relevant role * Experience sales or marketing and managing relationships with essential clients * In-depth understanding of market research methods and analysis * Solid knowledge of performance reporting and financial/budgeting processes * Commercial awareness partnered with a well thought-out mindset * The ability to build teams and inspire people. * Experience of having used and gained market knowledge and customer insights to feed into commercial strategy and marketing plans. * To analyse data to translate market insight from internal and external sources into powerful insights * To work in an energetic environment with a level of initiative and positivity * To identify improvement opportunities, challenge status quo and drive changes * To quickly guide decisions and agreement building in a multi-partner environment. Experience of building and sustaining successful relationships. * Experience of driving strategic process and new ideas. * Bachelors degree or experience equivalent Ideally looking for someone to be based remotely in the UK, however candidates based in Western Europe will also be considered.


Morson Talent are working with the worlds leading telecommunications solutions provider and recruiting for their R&D sector. We are now looking for new talents to join their Paris team of ten researchers, specializing in reinforcement learning and control, time series forecasting, anomaly detection, structured data, and optimization. Two research positions are opened, one for each of the following topics: 1) Transfer learning and causal inference on high dimensional time series data 2) Optimization methods for machine learning Role Description and Responsibilities: - Perform research on one of the preferred topics, publish high quality research results on top conferences, improve the visibility for lab and company in academic communities. - Apply the research results on real projects, provide high quality solutions for 4/5G telecom network operation and maintenance, including user behavior prediction, device failure prediction and fault diagnosis. Qualifications and Requirements: - PhD degree in computer science, statistics, applied mathematics, information engineering, electronics engineering or have equivalent research experiences. - For the first open position: Good knowledge in transfer learning (especially in domain adaptation, multi-task learning, semi-supervised learning and weak supervised learning, small sample learning), causal inference and time series data analysis. - For the second open position: Good knowledge in first-order optimization methods for Machine Learning, especially for the training of Deep Learning architectures. - High quality publications in machine learning related conferences or journals. - Strong programming skills, experienced in one or more programming languages including but not limited to: Python (preferential), C/C++, and Java. For further information please contact Matthew Owen at Morson International.

Site Manager

Are you an experienced Site Manager? Do you want to work for a company that is demonstrating sustained periods of growth, as well as having a solid order book of more work to come? Do you want to work for a company that offers autonomy, along with the freedom to develop in your career? Then Vital want to speak to you.Vital resources are currently working with a reputable and well established multi-disciplined contractor to assist them in their search for a new Site Manager. Our client is looking for someone who can demonstrate a background in Rail, Water, Civils, or Infrastructure projectsAs an experienced Manager your responsibilities will include but are not limited to:Daily management of groundworks packages in the central Belt of ScotlandOrganise and Purchase on Site Labour, Materials, and PlantLiaise with the commercial teams and other operational teams to ensure projects are delivered in a timely, and cost effective manner.Organise and Chair meetings with clients and senior management.The successful applicant for this role will be able to demonstrate:Background in a similar positionPrevious experience working within groundworks, deep drainage and, cut & fill works.Experience working as a subcontractor is preferred, but not essentialSMSTS CertifiedFull UK Licence as travel to sites will be requiredAbility to work alone with minimal supervisionFor this our client is willing to offer a competitve salary, along with a comprehensive package.For more information, please contact Jamie Nicholson using the details provided, or click the apply now link.

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