Jessica Tabinor Rail and Transportation
Morson Vital Training (MVT) has recruited its 50th Track Maintenance apprentice, just a few weeks before its cohort of Level 2 Canning Town apprentices are due to complete their training and become fully qualified gang operatives.
Currently, the training arm has 26 apprentices working and training across London, Doncaster and Manchester. The Canning Town apprentices are fully integrated into core gangs delivering on key LUL contracts for the group, receiving excellent feedback.
Twenty-one-year-old apprentice, Ammar Sunderland from Kingston, explains:
“I was labouring before my apprenticeship and wanted a career with more substance. I found out about MVT online and I’ve really enjoyed getting out on track. It’s great being part of a gang and meeting different types of people from all backgrounds. After this, I want to go on to be a skilled platelayer.”
Recent recruit, 17-year-old apprentice Reece Wilkinson from Doncaster, added:
“I always wanted to work in rail and am really excited at being part of the apprenticeship, it’s a great opportunity for me. The trainers help with everything and even though I’m the youngest, there’s a real team effort between us all and we’ve become friends as well as workmates. I’m excited to get out on track in the next few weeks and put everything in practice that we’ve learnt so far.”
A number of the new apprentices in Manchester have come from particularly deprived areas across the city with high unemployment rates and engaged with MVT through the work it does with community projects such as Factory Youth Zone.
Attracting predominantly all-male cohorts, the MVT team are hosting a series of taster days later this year, specifically designed to encourage more young women into rail. These events will work to break down the stereotypes within the industry and showcase the breadth of roles and progression opportunities, particularly higher skilled apprenticeships, which are available regardless of gender, race, age, sexuality or background.
Andrew Robinson, training support manager for MVT, said:
“We’ve partnered with education providers across the country to showcase the great training opportunities and build a solid pipeline of future talent, including being enterprise advisors for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and engaging with young people at the biggest risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training).
“Whilst reaching our 50th apprentice may seem small compared to the volume training providers, we’re focused on quality over quantity and work hard to deliver talented operatives for the Morson Group by giving them experience, knowledge and the skills to hit the ground running and build a career for themselves in the expanding rail sector.”
MIND THE GAP IN RAIL
The skills shortage is one the biggest threats to UK rail and the increasing infrastructure pipeline is putting pressure on availability that has never been seen before.
Current HS2 skills forecasts, for example, estimate that around half of the project’s workforce will need to be trained to Level 3 or above, equivalent to A Level. However, just 16 per cent of the workforce is currently trained to higher and professional levels.
In response, MVT is now offering crane controller and machine operative training programmes to deliver skills and competencies in some of the most sought-after disciplines and complex roles.
The MVT team are training a handful of experienced rail operatives based on present day and future client needs. Currently, in its pilot stages, we will reveal more about the programme in future issues, so watch this space.